CEN­TRE MAY RE­SUME UMPP AUC­TION IN COUPLE OF MONTHS

Resource Digest - - COAL -

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.

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