The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Orissa to enter RPG powerhouse

Calcutta, June 24: The RPG group has submitted a proposal to the Orissa government for setting up a 2000-MW power plant at an estimated cost of Rs 8,000 crore. This will be the group’s first power venture outside Bengal.

The Telegraph had reported earlier that the group planned a thermal power plant elsewhere, and had started surveys in different states to find out where it could be set up.

This will be one of the major investments in the power sector of Orissa, which has attracted the attention of several domestic and international steel players.

“We have submitted a proposal to the Orissa government. Talks are now under way. We will enter into an agreement once the state clears the power project,” Sanjiv Goenka, vice-chairman of RPG Enterprises, said.

“The project will be carried out in a phased manner. In the first stage, we will set up two 250-MW units. In the second, two more such plants will come up. In the third, we will come up with two 500-MW plants,” Goenka added.

Explaining the rationale behind picking Orissa for the project, Goenka said easy availability of coal was the main reason. “We had always wanted to set up a pit-head power plant. Moreover, the demand of power in the state will go up exponentially as new industries are expected to come up over the next few years,” Goenka said.

Orissa has been swamped with plans from Posco, Tata Steel, Essar, Vedanta and Murugappa group and mining major BHP Billiton. Around Rs 1,08,000 crore will be invested in plants that will produce 44 million tonnes of steel.

In the last three months, Goenka and Sumantra Banerjee, the managing director of CESC and the head of group’s power business, made frequent visits to Orissa. They have also been talking to banks and fund managers across the world for financing the new venture.

Sources said the company is planning to float a separate firm for setting up the Orissa plant. Likely to be called RPG Power, the umbrella entity will take care of RPG group’s power ventures outside its home base of Bengal.

Goenka, however, denied that a new company was in the works. “If required, we will look into it,” he said. The RPG group formed a new company called Crescent Power, which is setting up a 40-MW power plant in Asansol.

CESC, which generates 975 MW at present, cannot itself invest outside Bengal as it holds the licence to supply power to Calcutta (excluding Salt Lake), part of South and North 24 Parganas and pockets in Howrah and Hoogly.

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