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BHEL, Ennore port face-off may delay North Chennai project further - 2012-04-09

BHEL and the Ennore Port are engaged in a face-off, which, if not resolved in quick time, will delay the commissioning of the North Chennai thermal power project of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. BHEL wants to bring a generator weighing nearly 400 tonnes on a barge from Mundra port. Ennore Port fears the cargo might damage the wharf.

This is bad news for the 2x600 MW North Chennai Thermal Power project of TNEB, the equipment supplier and contractor for which is Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd.The first unit of the project would have gone on stream at least six months back, but the generator meant for it fell into a river in Madhya PradeshBHEL, now wiser by that experience, made another generator and decided to ship this one over sea. “The generator is right now ready to be loaded on to a barge at Mundra port, just ten days away from Ennore, but the Ennore port authorities have said no to the cargo,” Mr A.K. Ghosh, General Manager, who is in-charge of the BHEL's power project execution operations in the southern States and Madhya Pradesh, told journalists in an informal chat on Saturday.

He said that BHEL had spent Rs 6 crore on the sea-route transportation. He said that there was no other way for the generator to be brought to the North Chennai project site. Reacting to this to , Mr S. Velumani, Chairman, Ennore Port Ltd, said that the port authorities are not in opposition of the BHEL generator being brought into the port per se, but not on a barge. “I will take personal responsibility to clear the cargo at our port,” he said, but wanted the generator to be brought in by a project cargo vessel with on-board handling equipment. A barge would not level with the berth, consequently the cargo would have to be offloaded “crudely” and this could damage the berth.

The Ennore port “cannot take the risk of damaging the berth, which is currently handling a large number of cars and other cargo,” Mr Velumani said. He pointed out that the berth was in fact built keeping in mind the heavy-cargo requirements of Toshiba, which has its turbine-generator plant near the port. Sources say that the North Chennai power project could generate power in about 4-5 months from now, only if there are no further delays in all the equipment landing at site.