The Indian states of Kerala and Orissa have firmed up on plans to set up a 2000 MW thermal plant in Orissa, sourcing coal from Baitharani fields in the state.

Project details have been discussed by senior officials from the two states, and the proposal is to go for formal approval by the two governments in the near future. Central governnment has already allotted the states of Kerala, Orissa and Gujarat ‘prospecting’ rights for coal equivalent to 3000 MW each from the Baitharani fields.

The idea of a joint initiative by Kerala and Orissa has come about primarily because of local resistance to an earlier plan by Kerala to build up a thermal plant in Kasargode district. Later, the state also considered the idea of building a plant jointly with the NTPC but that also filled to progress.

The two states will start by forming a Special Purpose Vehicle for implementing the project, estimated to involve a cost of INR 8000 crore when completed in three phases of 650 MW each.

The power generated by the plant, urgently needed to head off an imminent power crisis as demand outstrips supply, would be equally shared by the two states.