Himachal allots hydro projects to smaller players

December 19th, 2008 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Dec 19 (IANS) Corporate giants like Tata Power, Larsen and Toubro (L&T), Essar Power, the Bhilwara Group and GMR Infrastructure, which were bidding for hydropower projects in Himachal Pradesh, have lost out to relatively smaller players, a senior official said here Friday.Moserbaer and DCM Sriram Infrastructure are among the companies that have been allotted hydroelectric projects through global bidding in the hill state, the official said. Jindal Steel and Power has been allotted three projects too.

Moserbaer, known for its optical media products such as compact discs (CDs), was allotted five projects - the highest number - that have an aggregate generation capacity of 1,148 MW.

These are Reoli Dugli (420 MW), Seli (320 MW), Teling (69 MW), Miyar (90 MW) and Sach Khas (149 MW) projects.

Jindal Steel and Power was allotted the Lara (40 MW), Kuling Lara (40 MW) and Mane Nadang (70 MW) projects, while DCM Sriram Infrastructure bagged the Khoksar (90 MW) and Tinget (81 MW) projects.

Patel Engineering was allotted the 236 MW Dugar project in Chamba district and ANS Construction the 7.5 MW Kilhi Bahl project in Kangra district.

The projects have been allotted on a build-own-operate-and-transfer (BOOT) basis, a senior engineer associated with the allocation of power projects told IANS on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Most of the projects are located on the basins of Sutlej and Chenab rivers in Lahaul and Spiti districts.

No foreign company had bid for the projects.

Under the state’s amended power policy, the bidder who offers more free power to the state in addition to the fixed quota are allotted projects. However, during the previous Congress government, the projects were allotted on the basis of highest upfront premium.

The fixed quota is 12 percent free power for the first 12 years, 18 percent up to 30 years, and 30 percent up to 40 years. After 40 years, the project will be handed over to the government.

The free power bidding is in addition to the fixed upfront premium of Rs.2 million (Rs.20 lakh) per megawatt.

The official said big firms like Tata Power offered less free power, which went against them.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told IANS: “The free power share criterion enables us to get more than half of the electricity generated at the project free of cost. This policy will, of course, help the state in the long run.”

He said one bidder had offered to give free power up to 33.9 percent, 39.08 percent and 51.09 percent for 12, 30 years and 40 years, respectively. Dhumal declined to name the company.

Himachal Pradesh has approved a policy that aims to make the state the “hydropower state” of India. The government has allotted hundreds of micro and major hydro projects after that.

Local entrepreneurs are being encouraged to take up projects with 2 to 5 MW generation capacity. The government has allotted projects above 5 MW through open bidding.

The Asian Development Bank last month announced an $800-million loan for the state for setting up hydro projects that will add 808 MW generation capacity.

The state has an estimated potential to generate 21,000 MW hydropower, of which only one-third has been exploited so far. It plans to tap about 12,000 MW by 2012.

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