Shobhandeb Chatterjee speaking at the event.
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Kolkata: West Bengal government has decided to set up a 200 MW solar power plant at Dadanpatrabar in East Midnapore district. By far, it will be the largest solar power plant in Bengal.

“Detailed project report for the plant has been finalised. Discussion is now on as to how much funding the Centre will provide. We are hopeful that the plant will be commissioned in 2019,” state power minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee said today at an event organised by Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

At present, West Bengal generates about 70 MW solar power mostly from rooftop plants in educational institutes and government-owned buildings. By 2021, the state has a target of generating 500 MW.

“The problem is that in Bengal we don’t have long stretches of barren land where solar power plants can be set up. Whereas, to generate every 1 MW solar power around 5 acres land is required. Hence, as an alternative, we have decided to make use of the abandoned coal pits to set up solar plants. This will be in the capacity of 7-8 MW each,” Chatterjee said.

In another move, the state government has taken up a plan to make the power supply cables underground in 75 towns in the state by 2025. “This will help us cut down aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) loss and also ensure greater public safety,” the minister said.

As of now, the power supply cables are underground only in Kolkata, Nabadwip, and Bolpur towns.

Present at the event, West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission chairman RN Sen said that in the past five years power tariff in the Bengal districts increased by 3.4 per cent and in areas served by CESC, including Kolkata, the rise has been 3.8 per cent. “This is even as there has been 5-6 per cent rise in fuel input cost alone,” Sen said.

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