States seek easy power project norms

Mumbai, Mar 30 | Updated: Mar 31 2007, 05:30am hrs
States that are willing to back private investments in mega-power projects with generation capacities of a minimum 1,000 mw or more want the power ministry to remove anomalies in bidding norms. At least 10 states have said adding capacities of 15,000 mw will be possible if the private sector invests in such projects with states acting as facilitators.

The states have argued that according to the power ministrys guidelines notified on January 19, 2005, the timeframe for the bid process extends up to 425 days. But, if more than one distribution licensee in different states intend to buy power and if the preparations for such projects are being facilitated by the Centre, the timeframe is only 270 days. This, the states feel, will unnecessarily delay project-implementation and hike costs.

The Maharashtra government, which proposes to develop a 1,600-mw coal-based project at Dhopawe (Ratnagiri district) and a 1,040-mw gas-based one at Uran (Thane district) through competitive bidding, has taken the lead in drawing the ministrys attention. Sources told FE, States have strongly argued that there is no reason for such discrimination that leads to a delay of 155 days if one single distribution licensee, not assisted by the centre, were to initiate and complete the bid process. States have appealed to the ministry that the timeframe of 270 days be applied for he bid process.

As far as Maharashtra is concerned, sources said the state should be exempted form selling a certain percentage of power to another state, especially when it was reeling under an acute power shortage. Maharashtras peak shortage is well over 5,500 mw. Maharashtra has argued that allocation of power to other states from the upcoming Dhopawe and Uran projects, after they enjoy mega-power project status, will be unfair.