Following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assurance to look into the matter, Bihar is hopeful of getting coal linkage for the proposed two units of 250MW each as part of expansion plan of the Barauni thermal power plant.

The PM gave the assurance to chief minister Nitish Kumar when the latter told Singh that the ministry of coal had rejected Bihar's plea and given a factually incorrect report. "I spoke to the PM on June 30 and later on, the PM phoned me to assure that the issue will be looked into again," the CM said here on Monday.

The Planning Commission has called a meeting of the state energy ministers in New Delhi on Tuesday, said energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav and added that after a long time such a meeting has been convened to discuss the energy sector, which was a positive step. He said the plan panel had sent an approach paper and the state has forwarded its comments. "We are hopeful of getting coal linkage," said the minister, who will attend the meeting.

Yadav said by 2015-16, Bihar would no longer depend only on central allocation of power. The state would get 330MW from the first unit of 660MW of phase II of Barh super thermal power station by May next, the minister said. Thereafter, after every six months, more power would be allocated to the state from various sources, including Nabinagar thermal power station of 390MW from two units of Kanti thermal power station in Muzaffarpur.

"To explore the potential of hydro power generation on a large scale from the north Bihar rivers, we got survey done of the Mahananda, Kosi, Gandak and Bagmati rivers. We have got the feasibility report and soon a policy will be announced," Yadav said and added that at least 400MW hydro power could be generated.

He said, "The NHPC and some private companies have shown interest in our proposed hydroelectric projects. We will prepare our action plan to decide whom to involve in these projects." There is no major hydroelectric project in the state.

Yadav said he would raise the matter of denial of coal linkage by the ministry of coal for the state government's Barauni thermal power station's expansion project. It may be recalled that an all-party delegation had met the PM to press this demand in April last. The Union power ministry had also recommended to the ministry of coal to provide coal linkage in view of the grim power situation in Bihar.

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