The Bajaj Group has appointed RS Sharma, former chairman of the state-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the managing director of Bajaj Power Ventures, a holding company of its power business. Before joining the Shishir Bajaj-led group, Sharma was the managing director with Jindal Power following a 30-year tenure at the country’s largest power company, NTPC.
The power business of the Bajaj Group includes Bajaj Energy and Lalitpur Power Generation. While Bajaj Energy has the capacity to generate 450 megawatt (mw) of thermal power from five units located near the group’s sugar factories, Lalitpur Power will have a total capacity to produce 1,980 mw, of which the first unit of 660 mw was operationalised last week. The second and third units of Lalitpur Power are scheduled to start operations in November this year and March 2016, respectively.
Sharma joins the group at a critical time when it has significantly ramped up focus on power generation to tap growing demand for electricity, as realisations from its sugar business continue to suffer. Just like its peers, Bajaj Hindusthan Sugar—the country’s largest sugar producer—has been adversely impacted by a continuous slide in domestic prices of the sweetener despite exorbitantly high state-fixed cane rates.
Power-starved Uttar Pradesh, where the group’s power companies are located, has projected to double its power availability to 21,000 mw by 2016-17, when the peak demand is expected to rise to 23,000 mw.
Sharma comes with 44 years of experience in the power sector, including his stint with NTPC where he had pioneered the setting up of 18,000 mw of new generation capacity. At Jindal Power, he increased the capacity three fold in a four-year stint.
A mechanical engineering graduate from the Government Engineering College at Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, Sharma began his career with the Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board before joining NTPC in 1980.