Ambanis, Ruias In Race For PGCIL Project

New Delhi, July 28 | Updated: Jul 29 2004, 05:39am hrs
They are face to face once again after a long gap. The Ambanis and the Ruias have emerged as the final contenders for Rs 500-crore Koldam transmission project of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL).

As many as eight domestic and foreign companies, including L&T, KEC, Kalapataru, the Spain-based Isolex Wat and a Russian firm had shown interest in the project. These companies had even participated in the pre-bid meetings with Power Grid Corporation. However, the final bids have been submitted by only two companies Reliance Energy and Essar Power.

Sources told FE that the bids were opened by Power Grid Corporation on Wednesday. While Reliance has sought a 74 per cent equity participation in the project, Essar Power has put in a bid for a 51 per cent stake. A bid guarantee amount of Rs 1.1 crore has been paid by each of the two companies, they added.

The 400 kv Koldam transmission line project is the second private sector transmission project in the country. It will be implemented as a joint venture project between PGCIL and the qualified bidder. The first 400 kv private transmission line project is being constructed jointly by Tata Power and PGCIL for power evacuation from the Tala power project in Bhutan.

When contacted, PGCIL chairman and managing director RP Singh confirmed that Reliance and Essar are the two companies who have finally bid for this project. A final decision on selecting the joint venture partner is expected by August 15, he said.

This transmission project will evacuate power from the 800 mw Koldam and 350 mw Parbati hydro-electric projects in Himachal Pradesh.

Bids for the project were invited from private companies by PGCIL through the international competitive bidding (ICB) route. The private companies were given a choice of quoting anywhere between 51 per cent to 74 per cent for participating in this project. PGCILs participation will be restricted to a maximum of 49 per cent or a minimum of 26 per cent.

The project will have a debt-equity ratio of 70:30. Scheduled for completion by October 2008, this transmission line will help transmit power from the Parvati and Koldam power projects to the power-deficit northern grid.

Clearly, this project promises to be another match between two gaints. However, one will have to see who will emerge as the eventual winner.