Shillong, Oct. 18: Power-starved Meghalaya today decided to develop a power project in Odisha on a joint venture basis, five years after the Centre had allocated a “coal block” in the coastal state.
In 2007, the Union ministry of coal had allocated 1,200 million tonnes of coal within the Mandakini ‘B’ coal block in Odisha to four states – Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Meghalaya. The coal block was then equally divided among the four states – 300 million tonnes each.
For Meghalaya, the coal block was allocated to the Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporation (MMDC), a public sector unit. It was also allocated to the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC), Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), and the Assam Mineral Development Corporation (AMDC).
Today the state cabinet took a decision to float an expression of interest to invite private developers to partake in the bidding process in order to become eligible partners in the joint venture project.
From the 300 million tonnes of coal, a 1,320MW thermal project will be developed where the Meghalaya government would look to have a 26 per cent cashless equity, state power minister A.T. Mondal told reporters after the Mukul Sangma cabinet gave its nod to the proposal.
Mondal said the joint venture project, which will be on a build, own and operate (BOT) basis, will be developed into two units of 660MW each.
“Our requirement will be 450MW where the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) will purchase the required power (450MW) for at least 25 years. The rate will be according to the amount to be determined by the state regulatory commission,” he said.
For a stake in the project, Mondal said the government would work towards getting a 26 per cent “cashless” equity.
The equity would be staked through a nominee company.
He also said the MMDC would be mandated with the task of developing the coal mining area.