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Make gas available for Dabhol plant, Power Ministry urges OilMin

'We have requested Oil Ministry again to make gas available for Dabhol so that we can run the plant at minimum viability,' Power Ministry additional secretary Ashok Lavasa told reporters.

He said the ministry has received a letter from ICICI Bank managing director Chanda Kochhar, which is one of the major lenders, to take a review of the project and start operations as soon as possible.

Kochhar also said that if these issues are not dealt with, the banks will find it difficult to finance such projects. Responding to this query, Lavasa said: 'The issue of Ratnagiri gas project is different from other gas-based power projects. There are problems being faced by those producers who did not have any allocation at all. In their case, the government did not give any allocation.'

Ratnagiri Gas & Power Pvt Ltd (RGPPL), a joint venture between gas utility GAIL and NTPC shut the Dabhol power plant in March after gas supplies from Reliance Industries' KG-D6 fields were stopped.

GAIL and NTPC hold 32.9 per cent each in RGPPL while the Maharashtra government has a 17.4 per cent stake. Lenders to the project — IDBI Bank, State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and Canara Bank — hold the remaining 16.8 per cent.

The project, which was originally built by US-based energy major Enron Corporation, became inoperative after a billing dispute with Maharashtra and Enron’s bankruptcy in 2001. RGPPL took over the plant in September 2005.
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