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Ispat flashes switch-on signal for Bhadrawati

Calcutta, May 26: The Ispat group is planning to revive the Bhadrawati thermal power project, which was put on the backburner about five years ago due to several regulatory roadblocks.

Confirming this, an Ispat group director in Mumbai said that the project is being reviewed and rescheduled so that the implementation is smooth.

The project, which will generate 500-MW of power initially, will need an investment of over Rs 2,500 crore. Earlier, the government had approved a project size of 1082 MW, which was to be completed in two phases.

However, the company wants to initially stick to 500 MW until they get a good power purchase commitment from the Maharashtra government.

The group, one of the leading producers of value-added steel products, is also looking for overseas joint venture partners for the project.

“We are in talks with a couple of leading global power equipment manufacturers to pick up a stake in the project. Now with the new Electricity Bill coming up, there’s been a lot of positive response from various global investors,” he said.

Called Central India Power Company (Cipco), the project initially had GEC Alsthom and EDF of France as joint venture partners. However, it is not known whether the old partners will remain in the new project.

From the very early stages, the project faced problems and it had to be broken up into two separate components. Moreover, Cipco’s foreign promoters did not want to get into the coal business in the way the government wanted them to.

According to the arrangement, a holding company called Ispat Urja Ltd, registered in the country, would have to pick up at least a 26 per cent stake in Cipco and Central India Coal Company.

Moreover, the foreign investment could not be more than 74 per cent at any point of time and the complicated structure, mooted for the project, became victim of the regulations on numerous occasions.

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