Moserbaer deposits first payment for Himachal project

Wednesday, 27 August 2008, 07:00 Hrs
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Shimla: Technology company Moserbaer Projects Wednesday paid the Himachal Pradesh government a part of the premium for executing the 144 MW Gondhla hydro power project in the state.

Company's chief executive officer Awadh B. Giri presented Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal with a draft for 43.92 crore (439 million) as 50 percent of the total premium, an official statement said.

The project will be set up in the Lahaul Valley on the Chandra river, a tributary of the Chenab.

Dhumal said the state government has decided to allot every project above 5 MW through open bidding to attract big players.

Local entrepreneurs were being encouraged to take up projects of between 2 MW and 5 MW generation capacity.

Moserbaer's Giri said a power project of this size required an investment of over 1,000-crore (10-billion).

"The project will be completed within five years, and provide direct employment to more than 400 people," he said.

Meanwhile, the government is still undecided about the fate of the first-ever power project allotted through open bidding to Brakel Corp NV of the Netherlands.

Last year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - then in the opposition but now in power - had petitioned the governor, seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Brakel contract.

But when it came to power this January, the BJP awarded the same project to Brakel, which made an upfront payment of 1.95 billion along with interest.

Subsequently, it issued the company two show-cause notices - the last one in July - asking it to explain why the allotment of the Thopan-Powari-Jangi hydro power project in Kinnaur district, 300 km from here, should not be cancelled.

The notice cited vigilance probes, which had raised serious doubts about the capabilities of the company to execute the project that requires an investment of more than 4,000 crore or 40 billion.

Brakel in its reply this month expressed surprise over various issues raised by the government despite it having clarified its credentials a number of times.

Regarding one of the government's objections to its decision to transfer 49 percent equity in the company to the Gujarat-based Adani Power Ltd without its approval, Brakel said Adani would be made a partner only after the government's approval.
Source: IANS
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