After Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar broke away from the BJP-led NDA in the state, the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre has showered Bihar with coal!. In a recent decision, the Unin Coal Ministry awarded Bihar with a captive asset, ‘Deocha Panchami’ in Birbhum district of West Bengal. This is the second coal block awarded to Bihar since 2006. The State will get nearly a quarter of the 2,100 million tonne (mt) recoverable reserve from the Birbhum asset, to be shared with West Bengal (25 per cent), Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Tamil Nadu.
Bihar’s share (486 mt) is linked to three proposed super critical power stations of 2X660 mw each at Chausa (Buxar), Kajra (Lakhisarai) and Pirpainti (Bhagalpur). Bihar has already entered into a preliminary pact with SJVN Ltd (formerly Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd) in October for setting up the 1,320 mw Chausa thermal power station on build-own-operate (BOO) basis.
Bihar’s previous attempts to attract investment in Kajra (1320 mw) and Pirpainti (1320 mw), were unsuccessful, in the absence of fuel linkage. With the availability of coal block, Bihar is now expected to invite bids for both the projects.