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Acre boost for Adani power

Firm can now begin work on phase-1 of plant

Ranchi: Decks have been cleared to transfer nearly 175 acres in Motia village of Godda block to Adani Group, with chief minister Raghubar Das scheduled to hold a meeting with the company's managing director Rajesh Adani on Tuesday to complete the necessary formalities.

The Motia land is part of the nearly 1,000 acres that the Adanis need in Godda for their proposed 1,600MW power plant which would export electricity solely to Bangladesh.

The transfer of Motia land is an important breakthrough for the Adanis for two reasons, as they would be in a position to begin groundwork of the first phase at the earliest and also put them in a better position to negotiate with banks and financial institutions to release their balance loan sums.

The Godda district administration had earlier asked the company to deposit around Rs 425 crore in the state exchequer to pay land donors but the Adanis could only part with Rs 199 crore, slowing down land acquisition.

"These days, banks are reluctant to finance mega power projects. They ask us how much land have been awarded against loans already released. We are also in hurry to begin groundwork at the earliest. Power supply to Bangladesh should begin before the 2019 general elections. The PMO is keeping a vigilant eye on this project," said a top-ranking executive of Adani Group.

But, the executive expressed his confidence that after the formal transfer of Motia land, banks and financial institutions would be more generous.

The Adanis have already inked the power purchase agreement with Bangladesh and approached prime minister Narendra Modi to lay the plant's foundation stone. Das, on his part, initiated moves to invite Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina to participate in the foundation stone laying ceremony in Godda.

"We are fully prepared to greet our prime minister but the PMO has not yet confirmed when he would be able to make it. The Bangladesh prime minister would be in a position to decide whether she would be able to grace the occasion after getting confirmation from her Indian counterpart," chief minister's secretary Sunil Barnwal said.

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