In another set-back to Uttar Pradesh’s tottering power sector, state power regulator UPERC has scrapped plans for four power projects with an envisaged combined capacity of 2,500 MW due to lack of any progress on the ground. These projects were first proposed in 2010, when Mayawati government was in power and were given two extensions by the present government.
The projects that were cancelled are 250-MW Parekh Aluminex, Barabanki; 600-MW Creative Thermolite Power, Murka; 250-MW Unitech Machines, Auraiya; and 1,320-MW Torrent Power cancelled. The projects continue to lack coal linkages and land has also not been acquired yet.
The regulator rejected the draft supplementary power-purchase agreements (SPPAs) between the UP Power Corporation (UPPCL) and the four private developers after a petition filed by UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad president, Avadhesh Kumar Verma. The petitioner had challenged the government’s repeated deadline extensions for setting up the plants despite the developers not doing any work on the ground.
“The commission has considered all the aspects before arriving at its decision. These plants were nowhere near completion despite two extensions,” AK Srivastava, secretary UPERC, said.
It may be mentioned that while the previous Mayawati government had signed 10 MoUs with private players for setting up power plants with a total generation capacity of 10,970 MW. The MoUs were to expire after 18 months on June 10, 2012, and had a clause that the state government was entitled to seize the bank guarantee submitted by the private players if it failed to get all approvals and begin work on their project within 18 months. Only one project, Lalitpur-I, which is being set up by Bajaj Hindusthan, had made some progress.
The MoU with Creative Thermolite was signed in October 2010, while the other three projects were signed in December 2010. Though all the four projects were to expire in June 2012, the Akhilesh Yadav government granted them an extension of another 18 months after he came to power in March 2012, as all of them got stuck up due to lack of coal linkages, which the private developers had promised to arrange on their own. However, when the state government gave another extension to the projects in December 2013, it was contested by the Rajya Vidyut Upbhokta Parishad.
Interestingly, the regulator granted approval to SPPAs of another four projects — 1,980-MW Lalitpur Power Generation Company; 1,320-MW Himavat Power, Bhognipur; 1,320-MW Lanco Anpara Power, Bhognipur; 1,320-MW Welspun Energy, Mirzapur — which have been able to make considerable headway.
However, speaking to FE, an UPPCL official said, “None of these projects had been allotted any coal linkage and no work had begun. As a result there is no real or actual loss to the state as such, but if one considers the fact that these projects ‘could’ have seen the light of the day and helped dispel the darkness that engulfs the state due to power deficiency, then yes, it is a loss.”