The Rs 9.50 billion (nearly USD 150 million) power plant is being commissioned by the state-run North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) at Monarchak, 70 km south of Tripura capital Agartala and eight km from the India-Bangladesh border.

In view of the delayed commissioning of the environment-friendly power project, the corporation, under the union power ministry, has been incurring a loss of Rs 3.5 crore a month, an official said.

"Conceived in 2000 with an installed capacity of 500 MW, the power plant's capacity was reduced to 280 MW in 2003-04 after ONGC reduced its gas allocation" by half, NEEPCO General Manager (Electrical) SR Biswas said.

"The ONGC further cut the gas allocation in 2008 forcing NEEPCO to scale down the installed capacity of the project to 101 MW," said Biswas, who heads the project, whose foundation stone was laid in March 2002.

"The commissioning time of the power plant has now been rescheduled to January next year," he said.

Designed by the US-based General Electric Company, the turbines are being supplied by Bharat Heavy Electric Limited for the plant which would generate 62 MW electricity through gas turbine and 39 MW through steam turbine.

Headquartered in Meghalaya's capital Shillong, NEEPCO is also planning to generate at least 1,500 MW power from solar and wind energy in the next five years.

Meanwhile, 81 days after President Pranab Mukherjee dedicated ONGC's first 726 MW mega power project in Tripura's Palatana to the nation; commercial generation is yet to begin due to technical snags.

The ONGC Tripura Power Company Limited, formed to set up the Rs 10,000-crore plant at Palatana, 60 km from here, was yet to finalize the date on which commercial generation will start, said an official.

After the inauguration of the power project June 21, technical hurdles were found in the 53-km gas ONGC pipelines.

The Palatana power project, expected to ease the power problem of seven of the eight northeastern states: Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, is the biggest gas-based thermal power project in the region.

(Agencies)

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