Millennium Post

Decision on revival of ailing Dabhol plant likely by March

To bring the ailing power plant back to health, the state government is toying with the idea of handing over the operational management of the plant, now operated by the Ratnagiri Gas and Power (RGPPL), to private parties.

Union Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal had recently said the Centre was open to all options, including privatisation of the project that used to supply nearly 95 per cent of its generation to the state. “The issue of revival of the crippled project is being seriously considered and discussed at the highest level at the Centre with the power and finance ministries holding talks with all the stakeholders including lenders and the state government.

“We expect by March, we will have a solution to the issue,” state energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said over the weekend. He said the state’s intent is to revive the project at any cost and for this, the government will even support private participation. “There is a need to find some kind of solution to restart generation by making available gas at cheaper rates to ensure that power produced can be sold at lower tariff.” “We are also evaluating how can we achieve this through private partnership and at which level,” he said.

Bawankule further said the state will also seek the Centre’s support to ensure gas is available for the project. To run the project at full capacity, the company needs 8.5 mmscmd gas of which 7.6 mmscmd should have come from Reliance while the remaining from ONGC through GAIL.

RGPPL, a joint venture between gas utility GAIL and NTPC, shut the Dabhol power plant after gas supplies from Reliance Industries’ KG-D6 fields were stopped. GAIL and NTPC hold 32.9 per cent each in RGPPL while Maharashtra has a 17.4 per cent stake.

According to RGPPL, state utility Mahavitaran owes nearly Rs 2,000 crore towards the fixed and electricity charges. Banks including SBI, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank and Canara Bank, which hold 16.8 per cent stake in the company, have an exposure of Rs 8,500 crore in the project. The project has been facing difficulty due to non-availability of gas and dues to banks are not being paid by the company on time.

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