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HC to hear NTPC petition against RIL on Feb 28

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Mumbai, Feb 26 (UNI) The Bombay High Court will hear on February 28 a petition filed by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) against Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) relating to gas sale and purchase agreement (GSPA).

On January 30 last, Justice S U Kamdar had deferred the hearing when counsels of both the parties sought adjournment by mutual consent.

NTPC had earlier filed a reply opposing the RIL's rejoinder to the petition moved by the largest power generator in the country on December 20 after RIL refused to sign the draft GSPA for the deal.

RIL, while reiterating its commitment to supply gas to NTPC's Kawas and Gandhar projects in Gujarat at the price quoted by it, has made it clear that it would not bear unlimited liability as stipulated in GSPA draft given by the public sector company.

''We will arrange alternate supplies in case of a disruption, but the difference in price of the alternate gas will have to be borne by NTPC,'' Reliance is understood to have stated in its rejoinder the NTPC petition.

In other words, if the price of gas beyond the 2.86 dollars per MMBTU quoted by Reliance, NTPC will have to bear the difference, according to Reliance sources.

The public sector company has demanded ''blocking of RILs gas stocks'' for its two power projects and has urged the court to direct RIL not to enter into any gas supply contract with any other party.

Mukesh Ambani-headed RIL had said its contract with any other party would not hurt the prospects of NTPCs projects. Besides, NTPC would have the option of using the gas generated from its other gas projects in the country.

According to Reliance, the draft GSPA imposes an unlimited liability on the company which it is not willing to bear. On December 14, RIL had signed the draft GSPA after making changes incorporating its concerns and sent it to NTPC for its signature.

''In the executed GSPA, we have reiterated our commitment to the quantity, the price and the start date for supply of gas to NTPC, all of which are strictly in accordance with our bid,'' RIL said in a letter dated December 21 to NTPC, a day after the power major went to court on the issue.

This was in response to a letter from NTPC to RIL, which said, ''You have erroneously and unilaterally made some changes between the GSPA as per the agreed terms and as finalised and therefore the signed GSPA as sent by you does not correctly reflect the agreed terms.'' UNI XR-ARM RSY VKG1122

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