The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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PowerGrid, Tatas tie up to source Bhutan power

New Delhi, June 30: Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) and Tata Power have joined hands to evacuate 1020 megawatt power from Tala hydroelectric power project in Bhutan to eastern and northern regions in India.

The project will directly benefit states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Damodar Valley Corporation and Sikkim in eastern region and Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir in the north.

The Rs 1,980-crore project will help in creation of a transmission highway or an artery for transfer of power to northern region, including Delhi, from the emerging generation projects in north-eastern region like Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim through the Chicken Neck area.

The joint venture transmission line covering about 1,200 kilometres of 400 kilo volt capacity will be constructed from Siliguri in West Bengal through Purnea and Muzaffarpur in Bihar, Gorakhpur, Lucknow and Bareilly to Mondola in Uttar Pradesh.

PowerGrid chairman and managing director R. P. Singh said, “The investment for joint venture project with Tata Power is estimated to be about Rs 1,110 crore with Tatas retaining the majority stake of 51 per cent while PGCIL will have 49 per cent.”

The company claims this would mitigate any risk perception about the project and give comfort to the lenders and various beneficiaries. The debt-equity ratio of the joint venture is 70:30 with the Tatas investing Rs 168 crore and PGCIL Rs 162 crore as equity.

“The resource will not be a constraint as we have positive indications from International Finance Corporation (IFC) and multilateral financial agencies like Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Indian financial institutions like Infrastructure Development Finance Company and State Bank of India. We will have the financial closure by year end,” said Singh.

However, the government’s attempt to bring in independent private transmission company as part of reforms in the power sector is yet to take off.

The initial attempt to bring in private parties in various transmission projects evoked a good response with 15 companies purchasing the bid documents. However, only four of them submitted request for proposal (RFP) and only one company is left in the fray to set up a 630-km transmission line between Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

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