The Union government was targeting a capacity addition of more than 100,000MW, including renewables, in the 12th Five Year Plan as part of a large-scale programme to tackle the huge power deficit and meet the needs of an expanding economy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Thirumayam in Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu on Friday.

Dedicating to the nation the BHEL's Power Plant Piping Unit and the second unit of the company's Rs 1000 crore High Pressure Boiler Plant, a green field initiative, at a function held amid elaborate security arrangements, the PM said in the 11th Five Year Plan, the country added around 55,000 MW of generation capacity, which is more than twice the addition achieved in the 10th Five Year Plan. "Out of this BHEL alone accounted for almost half. This shows the critical role that the company plays in one of the key sectors of our economy," he said.

Spread over 3 lakh square meters, the BHEL's Trichy complex is one of the biggest in Asia as a whole, the PM noted. The company, which is bestowed with engineering expertise, manufacturing prowess and a commendable human resource base, will not only take the lead in solar energy in terms of power generation but also in the development of solar power technology in India. "This is a difficult commercial decision, but well worth taking in the long term interest of our country," he said.

The Prime Minister, who flew down to Trichy in a special aircraft in the morning to dedicate the two projects to the nation, reached by helicopter at 11.50 am the nondescript Oalaikudipatti village near Thirumayam where the Rs 350 crore plant is situated. He was accompanied by state Governor K Rosaiah, Union ministers P Chidambaram, Praful Patel and V Narayanasamy, state transport minister V Senthil Balaji, and CMD of BHEL B Prasad Rao.

The PM praised Chidambaram, saying the FM was instrumental in persuading BHEL to locate the new unit at Thirumayam, a backward block in Pudukottai district. "He (PC) has strived tirelessly for the all-round development of this region. This only shows the deep concern he has for the people of his constituency. It also exemplifies our Government's commitment for the development of the backward regions of our country," said Manmohan Singh.

During his brief 10-minute speech in English that was translated into Tamil, the PM said climate change had become an urgent concern across the globe, and India was among the countries that would be most seriously impacted by its consequences. He urged the Maharatna-status BHEL to develop ways and means to reduce the carbon foot-print through technological innovation.

Finance minister P Chidambaram used the opportunity to point out that the state had given only 10 acres of land to BHEL as against the requirement of 45 acres for the expansion and construction of a township in Pudukottai district. "Likewise, the company asked for 60 acre of land to construct a township in Sivagangai, but the State government allotted only 20 acres that was not sufficient," Chidambaram said. He appealed to the Governor and minister Balaji to prevail upon the government to sanction the required land.

Keywords:scale programme , economy, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh , BHEL's Power Plant ,Piping Unit , company, High Pressure Boiler Plant, security arrangements,Five Year Plan,BHEL,Trichy complex , engineering expertise, solar power technology ,helicopter, Governor K Rosaiah, Union ministers P Chidambaram, Praful Patel, V Narayanasamy,carbon foot-print,Business news