CENTRE MAY RESUME UMPP AUCTION IN COUPLE OF MONTHS
The government is finalising the proposed ultra mega power projects and expects to resume the auction in the next two months, officials said. The coal ministry had last week deallocated three blocks attached with the proposed UMPP at Bedhabahal in Odisha, taking the industry as well as many in the government by surprise.
As per the new norms, the proposed UMPPS will have two special purpose vehicles, one to hold the land and coal blocks and the other to own requisite regulatory clearances. The SPV with blocks and land for the project will be leased out to the bidders for 30 years while the other will be transferred to the successful bidders.
In case of Bedhabahal UMPP, the Meenakshi, Meenakshi-b and Dipside of Meenakshi coal blocks were earlier allotted by the coal ministry to Odisha Integrated Power. Having deallocated the blocks, the ministry will now allot them to another special purpose vehicle called Odisha Infra Power, attached to the Odisha UMPP, an official said.
The ministry in its deallocation letter to the Power Finance Corporation, the nodal agency for bidding UMPPS, promised reallocation of the blocks to the Odisha UMPP for its timely and smooth implementation.
The Odisha UMPP is expected to be the first of the five proposed UMPPS in plug-and-play mode announced by the government in the budget for 2015-16. Another such project, at Cheyyur in Tamil Nadu, is facing protests from environmentalists and locals.
Officials said the government is examining reports submitted by an expert panel on bidding for coal block-based and imported coalbased UMPPS. The panel, headed by former Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha, was tasked with reviewing the standard bid documents for the 4,000-Mw projects after all private developers withdrew from the final round of bidding for the Odisha and Tamil Nadu UMPPS citing difficulty in securing bank finance due to flaws in the bidding norms.
The government has identified land in Banka district of Bihar, Deogarh in Jharkhand and in Etah in Uttar Pradesh for setting up UMPPS. Sites for two additional UMPPS in Odisha have also been identified.