Debating India

Maharashtra for reviving Enron

Saturday 18 June 2005

Special Correspondent

Panel to negotiate power purchase rate

Move comes close on heels of Pawar’s statement to this effect Centre to entrust Dabhol project to NTPC Minister hopeful of plant functioning in six to nine months

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Government has set up a committee of secretaries under its Chief Secretary to interact with the Central Government committee, formed to revive the controversial Dabhol Power Corporation (DPC) power plant at Guhagar in the State’s coastal Konkan region. The plant stopped producing electricity in June 2001 after disagreements with the Government on the power purchase rate.

State Energy Minister Dilip Walse-Patil said that the State Cabinet had decided at its special meeting on Friday to set up the committee. He said that the committee had been broadly empowered to present the State’s position on different demands and expectations that would emerge out of the Central Government Committee’s negotiations with various interests of the Dabhol project, including its shareholders, Indian lenders, foreign lenders and debtors.

According to Mr. Walse-Patil, the State committee would work with its Central counterpart on the issue of negotiating a power purchase rate of Rs. 2.30 per unit at 80 per cent plant load factor for both phases of the project. For a rate higher than this, the committee would have to seek Cabinet approval.

Besides the Chief Secretary, the committee would consist of the additional chief secretary (finance), the energy secretary and the managing director of the newly floated MSEB Holding Company. A group of Ministers from the Energy, Industries, Agriculture and Finance sectors would monitor the functioning of the committee.

The State Government’s move takes on added significance against the background of recent statements made by the Union Agriculture Minister, Sharad Pawar. At a meeting on Thursday in Chiplun, not far from the defunct Dabhol power plant, Mr. Pawar said that a settlement was within sight and that New Delhi was ready to buy the foreign equity of DPC, the majority of which is owned by Bechtel and GE, and run the plant. Mr. Walse-Patil confirmed that the Central Government would entrust the project to the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). Sources also confirmed that last week a team of engineers from GE and NTPC inspected the plant at Guhagar.

See online : The Hindyu

SPIP | template | | Site Map | Follow-up of the site's activity RSS 2.0