Leading the way

Print edition : February 29, 2008

POWER generation in the State is handled by various units, foremost among them West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd. (WBPDCL), a fully State-owned company incorporated in July 1985. Its primary objective has been to promote the business of power generation and evacuation for subsequent supply in the State.

Starting with just one unit at Kolaghat with a capacity of 210 megawatts and a turnover of Rs.64 crore, WBPDCLs capacity has increased to 2,820 MW through 18 units and has a turnover of Rs.2,728 crore. In the Tenth Plan period, five more units were commissioned, of which three are nearing completion.

By 2009, we will have a capacity of 4,090 MW, and our turnover is expected to cross Rs.4,000 crore, S. Mahapatra, the managing director of WBPDCL, told Frontline.

The company satisfies around 60 per cent of the power requirement of the State, and Mahapatra is hopeful that by the end of the year, WBPDCL will meet 75 per cent of the States requirement. Three more units have been sanctioned for the Eleventh Plan period, which will increase the companys capacity by another 1,450 MW, and another 1,800 MW is scheduled for the Twelfth Plan period. By 2012, we hope to meet the entire power requirement of the State and have a surplus to export, said Mahapatra.

WBPDCL is the only company in the eastern part of the country to export power to other States, mainly to those in North India. It has two captive coal mines, with a combined capacity of four million tonnes per annum (TPA) at Asansol in Bardhaman district, and is in the process of developing three, smaller mines in Birbhum district, with a combined capacity of one million TPA. We also have a very large mine in Jharkhand: Panchwara North Mine, which is expected to yield 15 million TPA from 2012, said Mahapatra.

The company introduced a performance-based incentive scheme in May 2007. WBPDCL is also environment conscious. In 2003, 2004 and 2006, it received the Environmental Excellence Award from the West Bengal Pollution Control Board and the Indian Chamber of Commerce. For the last 22 years, except for once in 1999, the company has been earning profits.

Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay
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