Himachal signs power project agreement with Brakel

April 9th, 2009 - 10:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Shimla, April 9 (IANS) Ending months of uncertainty, the Himachal Pradesh government Thursday signed a pre-implementation agreement with Holland’s Brakel Corp NV to set up the 960-MW Thopan-Powari-Jangi hydropower project.
“The pre-implementation agreement (PIA) was signed between Chief Secretary Asha Swaroop and the company’s director, Dean Gesterkamp, this (Thursday) evening in Shimla,” a government official said.

The signing of the PIA is mandatory before beginning the work of the project in Kinnaur district, 300 km from here.

The decision to sign the agreement with Brakel was taken Nov 25, 2008, two years after the project was awarded to the Dutch company.

The project requires an investment of more than Rs.60 billion.

Brakel has already deposited 50 percent of the upfront premium (Rs.1.73 billion) and Rs.21 crore as delayed interest at the rate of 11 percent.

The company’s top official in Shimla, B.R. Gautam, told IANS: “We have already started pre-construction activities at the site after completing topographical surveys. We are confident of meeting the deadline fixed by the government.”

The project was allotted to Brakel by the previous Congress government through global bidding in December 2006. However, the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government delayed signing the project and even despatched two show-cause notices to Brakel asking why the company’s bid should not be scrapped.

However, a petition by Reliance Energy, challenging the government’s decision to allow Brakel to continue with the project, is still pending in the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

Reliance Energy, one of the bidders, has moved the high court three times since the allotment of the project in 2006.

Two earlier petitions by Reliance against the government were dismissed by the court.

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