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Domestic majors dominate bids for ultra-mega power projects

Anil Sasi

NTPC, Tata Power, Reliance Energy among 16 in race; foreign players opt out

Off the block
Ten bidders for the pithead coal-fired Sasan project in Madhya Pradesh
PFC has received six bids for Mundra

New Delhi , Dec. 7

Domestic power sector biggies, including NTPC Ltd, Reliance Energy and Tata Power, are among the 16 bidders in the race for the first two 4,000-MW ultra-mega power projects for which bidding closed on Thursday. Major foreign players, including China Light and Power (in a consortium with GMR Group) and AES Corporation, are among the companies that have dropped out of the race.

NTPC, Reliance Energy, Tata Power, Essar Power, Sterlite Group, Larsen & Toubro, Jaiprakash Associates Ltd, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Torrent Power and Lanco Infratech Ltd are the 10 bidders for the pithead coal-fired Sasan power project in Madhya Pradesh.

Power Finance Corporation (PFC) — the nodal agency responsible for carrying out the bidding process for the ultra-mega projects — has received six bids for the Mundra power project in Gujarat that would be run on imported coal. The Adani group, the Sterlite group, Tata Power, Essar Power, Larsen & Toubro and Reliance Energy have bid for the Mundra project.

Foreign players who were present at the RfQ (Request for Qualification) stage but eventually pulled out at the time of bidding — notably the GMR-China Light and Power combine and AES Corp — have cited insufficient time for bidding as one of the key reasons for staying out of the race, official sources said.

An apex committee each has been constituted to carry out the technical and financial evaluation of the bids for the two projects. The committees, which have begun the technical evaluation process, will give their verdict by Saturday. The price bids are to be opened on Monday and the winning bids for the two power projects are likely to be announced on the same day, officials said.

The apex committee for the Sasan project comprises the Chairman and Managing Director of PFC, the CMD of Punjab National Bank, the Chairman of Central Electricity Authority and the Secretary-level officers from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The committee for the Mundra project has State-level representations from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab.

The country is promoting the ultra-mega project initiative to build around seven large power stations of 4,000 MW each across the country. The first two projects are expected to go on stream during the Eleventh Plan period, while bidding for the other five projects will open in 2007.

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