The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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GE expects answers to Dabhol in six months

New Delhi, April 18: GE India expects to find a solution within six months to knotty legal and financial issues surrounding the Dabhol power plant which it proposes to re-commission.

“I am optimistic that we can find a solution within six months to the Dabhol issue,” said Scott R. Bayman, president and chief executive officer of GE India.

The Dabhol power plant has been closed for over a year since Enron Corporation, its US parent, became embroiled in problems over a string of financial irregularities.

The Dabhol power plant itself ran into problems with the Maharashtra government over the pricing of its power and the terms of its exclusive power supply contract with the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB).

GE India has a 10 per cent stake in the Dabhol power project. Enron is the principal shareholder in Dabhol Power Company (DPC) with a 65 per cent stake while MSEB holds 15 per cent. US company Bechtel has a 3 per cent stake.

The Centre is also hoping to find a quick solution to the Enron crisis through discussions to be held between the negotiating committee and DPC.

Officials in the power ministry emphasised that any proposal or a suggestion from the negotiating committee has to be acceptable to MSEB and DPC, who are the main parties to the dispute.

“It is a complex issue and the solution is not expected to be easy. However, in the last few months, I have become optimistic that a quick solution is possible since the leadership in India, particularly in the finance and power ministries, have shown an inclination to sort out the issue quickly,” said Bayman.

“On our part, we will continue to participate in negotiations with the state government of Maharashtra, the central government, the foreign and Indian lenders and MSEB. Currently, all the partners in the project are preserving their legal rights,” added Bayman.

Meanwhile, the Indian lenders of Dabhol power project led by IDBI will meet on Monday to chalk out a course of action, following an arbitration proceeding initiated by offshore lenders against them in London.

Apart from IDBI, other Indian lenders, including ICICI, State Bank and IFCI will meet next week to discuss the plan of action.

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