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Govt invites suggestions on bidding of new power projects

Govt invites suggestions on  bidding of new power projects
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The government on Friday said it is open to accommodating suggestions from stakeholders on new bidding documents being finalised for power projects to make the process more comprehensive.

'The standard bidding documents [SBDs] are being finalised. Whatever suggestions and comments come, we will deliberate and reflect on that... We are open to change for the better,' power minister M Veerappa Moily told reporters on the sidelines of R&D Conclave on Friday.

'According to some media reports these SBDs are destructive and more intrusive. All those allegations are not correct. If there is any apprehension, we will rectify it,' he added.

As per the provisional SBDs, there would be no change in the bidding norms for the power projects based on imported coal. This clause may hurt the interests of the private power producers building these projects, as the imported coal has become costlier.

In September 2011, the Indonesian government linked their fuel prices to the international market, thereby making it a costlier proposition for the Indian power companies sourcing the fuel from the island nation.

As far the domestic fuel-based projects are concerned, the draft documents have proposed separate set of bidding for coal linkage and captive coal projects.

Power secretary P Uma Shankar said that the sector is still facing a lot of challenges.

'A 'substantial' population of the country does not have electricity, which is a major challenge and providing reliable power to the remaining population is another,' Shankar said.

'There are other challenges impacting the power sector – dependence on coal, efficient extraction of coal another hurdle,' he said.

On funding for the power projects, Moily assured that the de-allocated coal blocks do not figure in the list of projects for the 12th Five Year Plan [2012-17].

'No capacity [for the next 5 years] is stranded due to the de-allocated coal mines, so the finance ministry should not shy from [giving approval] fund for these projects,' Moily added.

The government plans to add over 88,000 MW of electricity in the next five years.
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