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Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda, Punjab, India


Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant is situated in Bathinda (Punjab) on Bathinda-Malout Road. The foundation stone of the thermal power plant, comprising of four units of 110 MW each was laid on 19th November, 1969, the quincentenary year of the birth of the great Guru Nanak Dev Ji from whom it gets its present name [1]. The thermal plant set up 45 years ago is to be dismantled as it has outlived its utility. All the four units of the power plant had outlived their designed life. Various equipment, including the boilers and turbines are in deteriorating condition. This obsolete equipment are restricting power generation to about 95 MW against the installed capacity of 110 MW. A INR 400 crore proposal for renovating the project had been approved to extend the plant's life by another 20 years [3].

In 2011 Bhaba Atomic Research Center`s study had revealed high uranium concentration in Bathinda and its peripheral area where two thermal plants are situated. Bhatinda residents formed a Joint Action Committee (JAC), to fight the fly ash problem caused by the thermal plants. According to the committee, the state government is not serious about pollution caused by the thermal plants in Bathinda [3]. JAC has been fighting against the fly ash problem for the last one decade and had filed a petition in Punjab and Haryana high court, forcing the authorities to give an undertaking regarding modernization of the three out of four units of the power plant by June 30, 2011. However, the work has not been completed [4]. An announcement by the deputy CM of shutting down the plant had come as a relief to the residents but it has not been implemented yet [3].

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda, Punjab, India
State or province:Punjab
Location of conflict:Bathinda
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Thermal power plants
Specific commodities:Electricity
Chemical products
Industrial waste

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The historic town of Bathinda was selected for this first and prestigious thermal power project of the state due to its good railway connections for fast transportation of coal, availability of canal water and proximity of load center. This project was completed in two phases at a total cost of about Rs 115 crore. The first unit was commissioned in September, 1974 and the others were subsequently commissioned in September, 1975, March, 1978 and last one in January, 1979. The commissioning of these units not only helped bridge the gap between supply and demand in Punjab but also solved the chronic problem of low voltage prevailing in the Malwa region. It is matter of pride that this plant is working successfully since its commissioning.

This plant has won many National Awards like Meritorious Productivity Awards from Govt. of India. GNDTP, Bathinda has also been accredited with ISO: 9001:2008.

Unit-1or 2 of GNDTP, Bathinda, when operated at full capacity is capable of generating 26.4 lac units of electricity in a day and unit-3 is capable to generate 28.80 lac units in a day. The coal consumption is about 1700 to 1800 MT per unit depending upon the quality of coal. The total daily coal requirement is about 7000 M.T. (about two rakes of 58 wagons each) when all the four units are in operation. The coal supplies are being received from Jharkhand which is more than 1500 KMs from this Power Station. Fly ash generated is being used by M/s Ambuja Cement factory and other different industries.

As these units have completed more than their designed life span of 25 years, the Renovation & Modernisation is being done in the phased manner with the following objectives:

To restore original rated capacity of the units. (Uprating of capacity from 110MW to 120 MW for units 3 & 4)

To improve plant availability/load factor.

To extend the life of the units by 15 to 20 years.

To enhance operational efficiency and safety

To remove ash pollution and to meet up environmental standards of Pollution Control Board

Energy Conservation †œR&M of Units-1, 2 & 3 has been completed and these units are running at nearly full capacity. After R&M, Commercial Operational Declaration of Unit-3 was made on 07.12.2012. Its capacity has been up-rated from 110 MW to 120 MW. Now. Capacity of this plant is 450 MW against 440 MW. Unit-4 is under R&M since 05-11-2011 [1]

Level of Investment:$64,574,733 (400 Crores for renovation)
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:285810
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:Punjab State Power Corporation from India
Relevant government actors:Punjab Pollution Control Board
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Joint Action Committee (JAC), Bhatinda, Sangharsh Committee

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Specific impacts on women


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Strengthening of participation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of alternatives:On August 22, 2011, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal announced plans to shut down the Bathinda power plant. Despite some renovations, the plant will be completely dismantled. Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Capt Amarinder Singh has publicly stated his opposition to the Bathinda plant closure. He states that the state of Punjab is already experiencing a shortage of electricity, and to close another plant will create an even larger shortage. He wants the Bathinda plant to make the necessary restorations and reopen.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:A Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) official said that all four units have outlived their life
Townsmen had approached the High Court and the Human Rights Commission against the pollution being caused by the plant
The plant has been running without electrostatic precipitators that arrest the flow of ash from the chimneys
The plant burns 6,500 tonnes of coal every day, generating a high quantity of ash
It has resulted in rise in eye and respiratory ailments [3]
The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) top brass has categorically stated that so far it has received no proposal from the state government on closing the 440 MW Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) in Bathinda [6].

Sources & Materials

Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict


References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Indian Energy Conservation Act

Power Plant Performance Reporting and Improvement

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites



[3] Ash-spewing Bathinda thermal plant to be shut down

[4] Bathinda residents want thermal plant closed

[5] GNDTP Bathinda power station

[6] No proposal from government to close Bathinda plant, says power corp chief

Bathinda thermal power plant engineers protest punitive action

Bathinda thermal plant succeeds in lowering pollution

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Thermal Power Plants of Bathinda

Bathinda thermal plant vomiting smoke harming people

Meta information

Contributor:Swapan Kumar Patra
Last update24/06/2014