Punjab to set up industrial park in Bathinda: Manpreet Badal

Chandigarh, Jun 23 (PTI) Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on Tuesday said the state government has decided to set up an industrial park preferably for the pharmaceutical sector on a piece of land of the now defunct Guru Nanak Dev thermal power plant in Bathinda.

Badal also rejected the criticism of the opposition AAP, which has accused the state government of giving land of the thermal power plant to their “favourite ones”, instead of reviving the project.

Badal said the coal-based plant was closed in 2018 on account of being unviable.

“The government has decided to set up an industrial park over 1,320 acres (out of 1,764 acres of the power plant) in Bathinda,” Badal said while talking to reporters here.

He said it will have the potential to generate 50,000 jobs and turn Bathinda into an industrial hub.

“The Government of India is setting up three pharmaceutical parks in the country and the Punjab government will try that one such park is set up in Bathinda,” Badal added.

He stated if a pharmaceutical park comes up in Bathinda, it will be a win-win situation for the area.

“I was told if the state government gives land for this park, then the Government of India will invest Rs 700 crore for it,” said Badal.

Badal said the Housing Department will be allowed to raise Rs 100 crore for providing infrastructure like a common effluent treatment plant and roads in the park.

Badal said the power plant was shut down because of commercial, environmental and administrative reasons.

While its power generation cost had remained Rs 7.70 per unit, much higher than power available at a rate of Rs 2.70 per unit, Badal said it had also exceeded the 25-year lifespan as per the Central Electricity Agency (CEA) guidelines for retiring non-viable plants.

He also rejected the charge of the opposition that the land of the closed power plant will be sold to some private players.

He said the lake spread over 164 acres which was part of the Bathinda thermal plant will be used for providing water supply to city residents.

Residential accommodation over 280 acres of land will be used by the civil and police administration, he further said.

The Punjab cabinet on Monday gave the nod for the redevelopment of the 1,764 acres of the Bathinda power plant.

Following the cabinet decision, the land belonging to the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) will now be acquired by the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) through a 80:20 revenue sharing scheme. However, the Aam Aadmi Party on Monday had held a protest and alleged that the state government was going to “dole out” the land of the closed power plant to their “favourite ones”.

The AAP leaders wanted the state government to revive the coal-fired power plant. PTI CHS VSD RDK