No bid for defunct power plant

An assets reconstruction company has not yet managed to find bidders for the now-defunct coal scam-tainted power plant of Manoj Jayaswal's Abhijeet Group in Latehar, which it acquired last July, even as all eyes are peeled on the upcoming power plant of the Adanis in Godda.

By SUDHIR KUMAR MISHRA in Ranchi
  • Published 19.04.17
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Abhijeet power plant in Chakla, Latehar, that awaits bailout from bidders

Ranchi, April 18: An assets reconstruction company has not yet managed to find bidders for the now-defunct coal scam-tainted power plant of Manoj Jayaswal's Abhijeet Group in Latehar, which it acquired last July, even as all eyes are peeled on the upcoming power plant of the Adanis in Godda.

Mumbai-based Assets Reconstruction Company (India) Ltd (Arcil), which acquired the semi-built power plant and infrastructure in Chakla village of Latehar's Chandwa block as non-performing assets, needs to auction them off to repay bad loans of over Rs 5,000 crore to a consortium of banks and financial institutions.

Asked why no investor had shown interest, Arcil chief executive officer-cum-managing director Vinayak Bahuguna said overall power productivity in India was higher than the market demand. "What may help the project get a bidder is link to a coal block, which we have asked the state government to pursue with the Centre. Still, we are doing our best and critically analysing the net worth of available assets and liabilities. It is a time-taking process," he said.

Chandwa residents, however, feel the project could be an attractive proposition due to its available land. Abhijeet Group has some 1,400 acres in Latehar, of which 600 acres are in Chakla alone. Land was acquired between 2007 and 2009 for Rs 5 lakh per acre.

"Considering problems involved in land acquisition any smart investor should take over this plant. The area has all basic amenities to make an industrial project, especially power or steel plant to become functional at the earliest," Anand Kishore Nath Shahi, a descendant of Shahi rulers and an influential person of the area who donated 26 acres for the power project and persuaded others to donate 600 more acres. "Arcil officials have been camping here for over nine months now, but they haven't spoken to us."

He added many land-donors had not received full compensation while youths who started working in the plant as workers or small-time contractors and continued to do so even after the project ran into rough weather when Jayaswal's name surfaced in Coalgate weren't paid. "The whole economy of Chandwa collapsed after the failure of the power plant that had been billed as a showpiece project in a rebel-hit district," he said.

He pointed out that under the state's new rehabilitation and resettlement policy, land donors for industrial projects get four times the current market price plus several other benefits. "We are losers in every sense," Shahi said.

Asked, Bahuguna said that they wouldn't comment on dues of land donors and former employees. "As we aren't official liquidators, we can't comment on these. Things would greatly depend on the new company that takes over the project for commissioning. Claimants are also free to approach the judiciary and police in their own capacities."