ONGC announces BHEL eligible for Palatana power project in Tripura

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Agartala, Jun 20 (UNI) The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) has announced that Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd (BHEL) emerged as lowest bidder for project construction contract for 740 MW gas-based Palatana power project in South Tripura, outbidding internationally acclaimed Alstom.

ONGC Tripura Power Company (P) Ltd (OTPC) has been jointly developed by ONGC, Tripura government and IL&FS, to mobilise the abandoned natural gas for power generation that would be transmitted throughout the country.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had accorded the clearance of 750 MW gas based power project in Palatana in South Tripura to the ONGC last year, which was launched by Prime Minister Dr Monmohan Singh in September 2005 for next proceeding.

Accordingly, OTPC floated tenders for project site development and constuction, but the response was poor because of transportation problem. The National Highway 44 was not in a good shape to carry loads of heavy machines and materials for the project. The Ministry of Petroleum along with External Affairs Ministry had sought water-transporting facility from Bangladesh and nothing positive had come out of it so far, said a senior ONGC official here.

After the third tender calling, only two companies bidded for the project. While BHEL quoted Rs 2,500 crore, Alstom's quote was of the order of Rs 5,000 crore in December last.

OTPC's financial structure include ONGC: 50%, IL&FS: 26%, Tripura government: 0.5%. Balance 23.5% stake will be tied up with suitable investors, officials stated.

Power from Palatana project was initially meant to be allocated to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi (100 mw each) in the northern region and to Assam and Tripura (100 mw each) in the northeastern region. However, the power ministry had subsequently decided to allocate all power generated from the project to the NER states.

Keeping in mind that NER constituent states are due to receive the entire quantum of power generated at the project, the power ministry has recommended that the associated 650 km, 400 KV double circuit transmission line from Palatana to Bongaigaon should be implemented via a JVC formed between the Power Grid Corporation, OTPC, IL &FS &the NER states.

Meanwhile, North East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) officials said that it was keen to participate in ONGC's Palatana Power venture and might even chip in with equity, if given an opportunity.

ONGC hoped the long association between both the organisations in North-East would be reinforced with this agreement and would also help in development of the power-starved region.

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