Govt to allow foreign equity in power sector

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New Delhi, Sep 11 (UNI) Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today assured that foreign equity will be allowed without any hindrance in the power sector to achieve the challenging target of generating an additional 90,000 megawatts in the 11th plan period.

India would require an additional two million manpower to achieve the target, according to Crisil Risk and Infrastructure Solutions' Managing Director Hemant Joshi.

Inaugurating India Electricity-2008, Mr Shinde said work on 32 coal blocks capable of feeding 29,000 MW of power was in progress.

These blocks with extractable reserves of 9,916 million tonnes had been allotted to various state and central PSUs and to independent power producers. Some IPPs, he added, have also acquired coal mines abroad.

He said hydro power sites for almost 22,000 MW have been allotted by states to the private sector but added most of these projects will yield benefits during the 12th and 13th plan periods.

The Minister was optimistic on the nuclear power front when he said the country is now eagerly looking forward to very fast developments in this sector in the wake of the NSG waiver which allows India to engage in nuclear commerce.

Power Secretary Anil Razdan said the 11th plan target is both a challenge and a huge opportunity for the investors but added, ''We have place for only energy efficient companies who bring in the state-of-the-art technologies.'' He said the government wanted India to become a manufacturing hub for energy equipments, saying several joint venture companies like Toshiba&JSW, BHEL&Siemens, L &T &Mitsubishi had evinced interest in setting up manufacturing bases in the country.

Agreeing with Mr Razdan's observations, Frnace-based International Energy Agency Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said India was at the juncture of a huge investment cycle that opens up a window of opportunity.

But he sought concerted government action in implementing a competitive framework for cost reflective price signals and ensuring regulatory predictability. ''Short-termism in policy leads to short-termism in investor response,'' he pointed out.

United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chief Philip D Moeller appraised participants of the Commission's role in the US.

UNI SAA SBA VC1758

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