Kolkata: State-run West Bengal Power Distribution Company Ltd, Durgapur Projects Ltd (DPL) and private power utility CESC have been asked to venture into solar energy by the state government, failing which they will have to pay penalty.

State Power Minister Manish Gupta today said four per cent of the total energy production by CESC and DPL will have to come from non-conventional energy sources failing which they will have to pay penalty.

WBPDCL will also venture into the production of solar energy, he said adding, the decision has been taken keeping in mind the recommendations of West Bengal Electricity Regularity Commission on the need to go solar.

"We are a power surplus state but we are decreasing the production to protect coal stocks," Gupta said after a meeting of cabinet committee on infrastructure and industry which was presided over by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

When asked about the setting up of 1,600 MW thermal power project by public sector NTPC, he said: "There is no uncertainty. The state cabinet has already approved power department's proposal of handing thermal power project to NTPC which is making all preparations for setting up of the project".

The Left Front government had taken up the initiative to set up the thermal power station at Katwa over 1,050 acres and West Bengal Power Distribution Company Limited was supposed to set up the plant for which 550 acres was acquired.

During the height of Singur and Nandigram movements, land losers stalled the acquisition demanding more compensation.

After Trinamool came to power, the government decided not to acquire land for any commercial project and decided to hand over the project to NTPC.

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