Kochi Rubber Park Trips On Power Supply

Kochi, January 28: | Updated: Jan 29 2003, 05:30am hrs
The proposed Rs 28-crore rubber park near here appears to have tripped on power distribution and the park's own sub-station and supply system at a total investment of Rs 3 crore remains to be charged.

While some of the projects proposed at the park were on the Global Investor Meet (GIM) agenda, a solution to the power situation remains elusive. A meeting scheduled with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) officials for late last week was indefinitely postponed.

Though just one unit has completed construction, it's not getting the promised uninterrupted power supply could make several others who were keen to come over backtrack, sources in the park said.

They felt that as per an agreement way back in 1997, KSEB would provide uninterrupted power supply through a separate sub-station. With the park agreeing to be a licensee for power distribution to the units in the park, the sub-station was built on the park premises at a cost of Rs 1 crore. Another Rs 2 crore was spent on laying underground cables.

The licensee had to be provided with power at grid tariff alone without which any proposal for licence would not be economically viable. The Electricity Act made it specific that it was impossible for KSEB to impose HT or EHT tariff on the licensee.

The sale of power to a lincesee at HT1 tariff could be invoked only when the licensee used more than 50 per cent of the total power distributed for its own consumption, the Act added, pointed the park sources.

At a time when the government, after GIM, spoke of putting in place a fast-track machinery to clear proposals, here was a case where even eight months after applying for licence and putting in place all the infrastructure and paying KSEB Rs 1 crore, power was being denied, sources added.

Rubber Park India (P) Ltd, a joint venture of the Centre and the state government has an authorised share capital of Rs 20 crore. The Centre through the Rubber Board and the state government through Kinfra have put in Rs 10 crore each. The project cost once pegged at Rs 36.61 crore had been brought down to Rs 28 crore.

On a 107-acre well-laid out area, 42 acres had been fully developed. The remaining area though proposed to be developed next month would be delayed further as even the single unit which had finished its construction work was yet to receive power. Work on the project had started nearly three years ago but delay in developing the area totally was owing to problems with land acquisition, according to park sources.

Twelve companies had evinced interest in starting their units at the park. Among them were a state-of-the-art balloon manufacturing unit with Malaysian collaboration with an investment of Rs 9 crore. This was a project which had been highlighted at GIM even when the park authorities were not invited to the meet.

Worse still, the other project for which construction work had been nearly completed was a latex-based tread rubber industry which again was highlighted at GIM when the agreement had been signed months ago.

Other units proposed were those manufacturing gloves, a filament/elastic thread, bearing pads, sulphur powder and mattress units. When fully developed, the area could accommodate around 60 units.

Besides, the dedicated 110 kv substation, a well-connected road network, exclusive V-Sat communication facilities with good bandwidth, hi-tech communication facilities with video conferencing, a general warehouse, a common effluent treatment plant and fully equipped testing and certification laboratories were some of the features the park has highlighted.

All promises of incentives like capital investment subsidy, etc would come to naught if the park does not resolve its row with the government over power supply, felt park sources.