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Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) will launch Luxury bus ride to Rajrappa (Ramgarh)

A darshan at the Rajrappa temple on the banks of the Damodar and Bhairavi rivers in Ramgarh is only a luxury bus ride away.


The Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) will soon roll out Globus, an 18-seater AC bus from the house of Tata Motors, to visit Rajrappa temple for "priority darshan".


The service will be launched as soon as a decision is taken on the price of tickets. As of now, the department plans to make two trips to Rajrappa, 65km from here, tentatively on Tuesdays and Sundays. Plans are afloat to fix the vehicle with a Global Positioning System (GPS) and set up a control room to track the location of the bus.


State tourism secretary Arun Kumar Singh told The Telegraph that devotees travelling to Rajrappa using the service would get a priority in "darshan" of Goddess Chhinnmastika. "A large number of devotees throng the temple everyday. We will make arrangements so that the devotees can do their darshan at ease," Singh said.


Early this month, the tourism corporation launched a week day Ranchi-Jamshedpur-Ranchi Globus bus service. The bus leaves from the corporations' office near Ranchi Club at 6am and reaches Jamshedpur at 9am. From the steel city the bus leaves at 3pm, reaching the capital at 6pm. More trips will be added on this route soon.


"The same bus will make a trip to Rajrappa on two days a week and will also ply on the Ranch-Jamshedpur route for the remaining five days. We are planning to offer a complete package to passengers, which includes tickets and luxury facilities before starting this service," said Alok Prasad, the officer on special duty (OSD) with the tourism department.


So far, the response has been encouraging. B.B. Verma, zonal sales manager at Public Works Department, used this service from Jamshedpur to Ranchi recently. "It was a very smooth journey. The seats are very comfortable and the AC works well too. I am looking forward to my next trip," he said.


The state tourism secretary is also planning to procure more buses to star tourist activities across districts.


"We are going to outsource these buses to private partners and run them on lease. We are also having talks with private operators to get more buses from them," Singh said. He plans to invite an expression of interest from experienced and financially sound firms for supplying, maintaining and operating the luxury buses.


"Besides," the secretary said, "a control room to monitor these buses is on the cards. The buses will be fitted with a GPS system which will help us check they are running on the right route."


Telegraph, June 23

Patratu Thermal Power Station (PTPS) takeover by NTPC

A high-level team from National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will visit Ranchi this month to hold talks on the modalities of a possible takeover of the ailing Patratu Thermal Power Station (PTPS).


The state's oldest thermal power generating unit is located in Ramgarh district. NTPC spokesman Sahdeo Sethi said on May 17 and 26, a team had visited Patratu for a feasibility study that covered all aspects from manpower to availability of land, water and coal. "The team will shortly submit its report to thermal power major. Once done, proper strategies will, finally, be drawn up for the takeover," Sethi said.


Ten units make up PTPS, which has an installed capacity of 840MW. Units one to six that had been set up by Czech firm Skoda in collaboration with then USSR are more than 36 years old. The remaining four units (seven to 10) were built by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited 20 years ago.


Against an installed capacity of 840MW, the power generated at Patratu varies between a paltry 40MW and 120 MW on any given day. Records show that the efficiency of the plant declined from 20.7 per cent in 2000-01 to 9.12 per cent in 2006-07. The NTPC has been mulling takeover for three years. However, it was in April last year that a formal proposal was submitted to the state seeking complete takeover of all the 10 units.


The power major has also proposed to use available vacant land to set up additional generating units.


A takeover by NTPC could mean either a joint venture with the state or an outright purchase. The NTPC spokesman pointed out that Kanti in Bihar, which has been taken over was a joint venture project between NTPC and the state government there. On the other hand, in case of Talcher Thermal in Orissa, it was an outright purchase by the NTPC.


In case things work according to plan for Patratu, an NTPC takeover committee will hold extensive talks with the state to thrash out modalities, including ownership issues and power sharing, by the end of this month.


Telegraph / 5 June 2009



The National Thermal power corporation (NTPC), union government enterprise, is all set to take over Patratu Thermal Power Station (PTPS)  from Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB).


Initial formalities in this direction were completed with a high-level technical team of the NTPC visiting the plant on May 17 and 26. The team has submitted its report to the central committee which is now likely to visit Jharkhand and finaliae modalities for the take over. NTPC sources said the initiative was taken to augment plant load factor of PTPS that had been low for the past several years.


Citing examples from power plants like Talchar in Orissa, Badarpur Thermal Power Station of National Capital Region (NCR) and Kanti of Bihar, an NTPC release said they are geared to introduce similar improvement in functioning of the PTPS in Jharkhand as well.


Meanwhile, PTPS workers are up in arms against the proposed take over. Extending support to the PTPS workers and officials, the Jharkhand Power Engineer Service Association (JPESA) is preparing to lodge its protest. Power engineers believe that functioning of the PTPS was poor because of political interference and it was premature to hand it over to NTPC without taking the workers and employees into confidence. Engineers are apprehensive of the status they would enjoy after PTPS is taken over by the NTPC.

JPESA executive member Prashant Chaturvedi said had this takeover taken place after unbundling of the JSEB there would have been hardly any protest.


"Once the PTPS was given the status of company there was no harm it being taken over by NTPC but under the present circumstances when the power station was not allowed to function with autonomy, the transfer is somewhat like pushing the employees to the wall," he said.


TNN / 4 June 2009

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