Resolving DPC Issue Is Top Priority: Geete

Mumbai, October 24: | Updated: Oct 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
Union minister of power Anant Geete on Thursday said that the resolution of the Dabhol tangle continues to be on the top on his agenda and expressed satisfaction over the cooperation extended by the Democratic Front government in Maharashtra.

The country cannot afford the loss of an investment of Rs 7,000 crore done by the Indian financial institutions in the Dabhol project neither was it wise to simply keep the plant idle especially when there has been an increase in power demand and continued load shedding, he observed.

Mr Geete told reporters that the coordination committee of the DF government has already given its nod for the per unit tariff of Rs 2.80 and it would be further vetoed by the state cabinet.

He said that an inspection team comprising Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB), Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Central Electricity Authority (CEA), GE and Bechtel would visit the Dabhol plant on October 28 and only after its report it would be possible to really know the status of the plant and the time required for its restart.

He added that BSES, which made an application with the state government for appointing it to operate and maintain the Dabhol phase-I (658 mw), has no role to play at this point in time.

According to Mr Geete, the resumption of power generation would not take a long but reiterated that the exact timeframe would come to know only after the report from the inspection team.

The union power secretary RV Shahi said that the IDBI would have to approach the Bombay High Court with a plea to allow the restart of power generation as currently the plant was in the possession of court receiver. Similarly, the consent from Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission would also be required.

Mr Shahi said that the power ministry was concentrating right now on the revival of Dabhol phase-I by appointing NTPC for the operation and maintenance on behalf of the IDBI. The O&M charges would be paid to NTPC by the lenders.

As far as the completion of Dabhol phase-II (1,444 mw) is concerned, it would be taken up later.

Mr Geete expressed disappointment over non-compliance by the state government on the communication by his predecessor Suresh Prabhu extending the ministry of powers help to overcome ongoing power shortage in the state.

Mr Prabhu in his letter of May 31 had pointed out that had the state government and MSEB given their consent for the drawal of power from the NTPCs projects in the western region, it would have got nearly 1,500 mw of additional power.

Ironically, the state government has not yet responded to the ministrys offer in this regard. For future the NTPCs projects in eastern region would be available for power transfer to other regions including western region, the Maharashtra state did not want to take any share from these projects too.

The government has also declined to look for feasibility for implementing new projects by NTPC and National Hydro Power Corporation.

However, the minister reiterated that his ministry was in favour extending necessary support to the state to tackle the power shortage and not interested to politicise the issue.

DPC Phase-I Restart Cost Estimated At Rs 60 Crore

The IDBI-led rupee lenders consortium have estimated the Dabhol phase-I restart cost at Rs 60 crore while as many as Rs 3,700 crore would be needed for the completion of Dabhol phase-II (1,444 mw) which is almost 93 per cent complete.

The financial institutions have offered to pump in the necessary funds for this purpose only after the Dabhol phase-I was revived, according to the sources involved in the Dabhol revival process.