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Good news for Jharkhand; Godda Plant ready for power production

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By Shahnawaz Hassan

Ranchi: It is a welcome news for the nation and also our next door neighbour Bangladesh. The much talked about Adani power project- The Godda thermal plant, is now ready for power generation. Tn fact, the Adani managed power plant has been built under an agreement between the Government of India and Bangladesh to supplement the energy needs of the later.

The 1600 MW power plant built in the remote in Motia village, about 12 km from Godda town, is  to seen as a boon to  Santhal Pargana region, one of the backward districts in  the state of Jharkhand.  This coal-based state-of-the-art power project is in 650 acres of government acquired land. The project is expected to bring multifarious developmental activities in this this undernourished tribal area.

The plant – with two units of 800 MW each including water pipeline and power evacuation systems – will cost about Rest 15,000 crore. It will supply power to Bangladesh, serving as a power connection between the two nations and creating a significant economic tie. Being built with ultra-supercritical technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions and other particulate matter that cause adverse health effects, it is a step towards strengthening India’s growing regional footprint. 

India has been ramping up its energy cooperation with Dhaka since 2010. The cross-border connection got gradually strengthened with the increase in power transfer capacity over the years. This tie got a boost with PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka in 2021 to commemorate 50 years of Bangladesh’s freedom war followed by the visit of his counterpart Sheikh Hasina to New Delhi in 2022. 

The energy exchange between the world’s two fastest growing economies began to be seen as a boost to global energy demand when the power pact between the two nations started to draw criticisms from certain sections in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Adani Power in Dhaka in November 2017 to supply 1,496 megawatts (MW) of electricity from a coal-based power plant at Godda in Jharkhand. As per reports, BPDB has sought revision of the agreement citing ‘excessive’ coal prices given the current state of the global market.

Bangladesh’s concern, if at all it holds currency, is deep-rooted in its struggles with poor power management. The energy crisis caused by global and domestic factors has deepened in the country, which gets three-quarters of its electricity from fossil fuels like imported natural gas. The war in Ukraine has put a crunch on the supply. The world’s second largest exporter of garments, which accounts for 84% of its exports, is forced to shut down factories due to power outages and incur losses, even when its per capita power consumption is only about 600 units compared to global average of 3,200 and 1,200 units in India.

To ease its energy woes the Bangladesh government had begun allowing private investment in the energy sector, paving the way for Adani Power Ltd. The commencement of transmission from the first 800 MW unit began on 16 December 2022. The Godda plant will become fully functional and start providing power from March 2023 and the charges would be one of the most competitive ones as compared to its IPP peers like Rampal, Matarbari, and S Alam projects using imported coal and LNG. With energy cost at 9.39 USC/kWh and capacity charge at 4.24 USC/kWh, the power tariff is either in line or lower and cost-effective both in terms of capacity and fuel charge as compared to other peer power stations in Bangladesh.  

Meanwhile, Godda is brimming with joy. The plant will supply 25% of electricity to Jharkhand that will meet its power requirement. The 95-km pipeline from Sahebgunj to Godda has proved a lifeline for over 300 villages along this stretch. The development work carried out by the Adani Foundation, the CSR arm of the Adani Group, has completely transformed the rural infrastructure. More than 5,000 people have benefitted from the direct and indirect employment generated by this power plant. Farmers and landowners have been well compensated for their land that was used to set up the plant.

The Group believes that a society can flourish when its people – kids, youth, women and the elderly – are healthy and happy. The Foundation’s work in the spheres of education, health, nutrition and women’s empowerment has brought about remarkable change in the region. 

Under Gyanodaya project, 314 government schools with smart classes for digital learning programme are covered, benefitting over 60,000 children of Godda. More than 3,000 youths have got employment or started their own venture after being trained at Adani Skill Development Centre (ASDC). The relentless work of Sanginis (women volunteers) is helping fight malnutrition in children in over 20 villages under the Foundation’s Wilmar Suposhan project. To empower the young girls and women of Godda, sewing centres have opened to provide them training and become self-reliant. A target has also been set to provide industrial training to girls by signing an MoU for the operation of Women’s ITI.

During the pandemic, the Group provided more than 600 jumbo oxygen cylinders to government hospitals in Godda and the neighboring districts. An oxygen plant in Dumka Medical College and a network of oxygen pipes in the hospitals of Godda, Dumka and Sahebganj have been set up.

The project meets all the environmental norms and compliances. There are no national parks, wildlife sanctuaries or ecologically sensitive areas within 10 km of the proposed project.

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