Failed Gujarat tech to revive Talcher plant costs heavily

CAG says delay in closing the heavy water plant led to Rs 68.26cr loss

New Delhi: A report released by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has come down heavily on the Centre for allegedly waiting for a proven failed technology from Gujarat to revive Centre’s sick Heavy Water Plant (HWP) at Talcher in Orissa.
The CAG claimed that the plant’s revival using a technology from Gujarat, which has proved to be a failure, not only escalated the unnecessary cost of the sick unit but also led to an estimated loss of Rs 68.26 crore to the exchequer.
The CAG in its report said, “The Heavy Water Board (HWB) stated in March 2017 that a front end technology was being studied at HWP, Baroda for installation at Talcher for the plant’s revival. The CAG observed that the said front-end technology had been unsuccessfully demonstrated at HWP Baroda and was permanently closed by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) in 2011.
During the closure of the plant in Baroda high energy consumption and uneconomical operations were cited as reasons. The CAG citing the botched up plan of the Talcher plant for waiting for a failed technology said, “The delay in HWP Talcher remains unexplained.”
The CAG in its report said that the delay led to costs of maintenance and preservation for long period and added that such a move had incurred an expenditure of Rs 54.34 crore towards maintenance of the plant from April 2011 to March 2017. The audit report further claimed that the delay in dismantling and disposing of spares of HWP Baroda and delay in closure of HWP Talcher resulted in unavoidable expenditure of Rs 68.26 crore on maintenance and preservation of the two plants from 2011-2017.
The HWP Talcher plant was established in 1985 and was linked to the feed synthesis gas available from the Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL). In April 1994, the operations were suspended for non-sustained supply from the FCIL. Between 2004 and 2011 the centre tried to explore ways to have front end technology but the plan was abandoned due to higher costs.
Seeing troubles, the HWB formed a panel to look into the matter regarding its closure.

Manish Kumar, OP

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