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Maharashtra to revive Rs. 20 billion Sakri solar project

According to reports, the Maharashtra Government is trying to revive the Rs 2,000-crore Sakri solar power project in Dhule, northern Maharashtra.

The 150-MW project hit a major hurdle in 2011 when the State Forest Department objected to the site of the plant, as it was a declared forest under Government records. Efforts are on to get the forest clearance by March, so that the project can be back on track. The mega solar project was declared in May 2011, a debt of about Rs 1,600 crore was also tied up with KFW Bank of Germany.

The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MahaGenco), which is the lead project developer, had started work in right earnest but by September, it discovered that 460 hectares on which project was to set up was forest land. Site work was suspended and since then the project is in limbo. Maharashtra’s Energy Secretary, Mr Vidyadhar Kanade, toldBusiness Linethat the State Government has no plan to either abandon or shift the project.

It has already written to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest seeking forest clearance for 460 hectares, which is expected to be given in two months, he said. Mr Subrat Ratho, Managing Director of MahaGenco, added that the company is ready to pay money to the State Forest Department so that compensatory forestation can be carried out.

The project is to be implemented with dual technology, with 75 MW power to be generated using photovoltaic cells, while 50 MW would be from thin film solar cells. MahaGenco also has option of expanding the project by another 25 MW.

Mr Bharat Agarwal, Secretary of Khandesh Industrial Development Association, said, “The site of the plant at Sakri gets as much sunshine as Barmer in Rajasthan. The project could make Dhule the solar power centre of Western India,” he said.

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