Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Thursday admitted that the country had failed meet the power capacity addition targets in the past three decades, but sounded confident the country would be able to add an ambitious 78,577 mega watt proposed in the 11th Five Year Plan.
Addressing reporters, he said capacity addition targets were not met in the past due to orders not being placed in time, delay in supply of machinery and lack of monitoring of the ongoing projects.
“We went into the details to find out why we failed to meet our capacity addition targets. We have identified the areas. Orders for machinery of projects to the tune of 10,950 will be placed by March, Shinde said.
On fresh bids being invited for the remaining 6 ultra mega power projects, Shinde said, “The process for the UMPPs is in place. Alternative sites are being identified for Girye in Maharashtra, Tadri in Karnataka, Akaltara in Chattisgarh and Ib valley in Orissa.”
The government is now hunting for new sites, as these sites have not been found suitable for UMPPs. “We are looking for alternative sites,” Shinde said.
Strong protests from the local population in Girye in Maharashtra, Tadri in Karnataka and Ib Vallley in Orissa led to these site being eventually abandoned and would lead to further delays in the implementation of the projects.
In Maharashtra, government officials had to abandon the site as local alphonso farmers in the region refused to yield even an inch of their fertile land for the UMPP stating that no amount of compensation would get them the quality of land which the government is keen to acquire from them. While in Orissa also locals refused to part with their land, in Karnataka the proposed site has a beach, which the locals were not ready to part with. To ensure that only serious players participate in the UMPP programme, a government official said: “To ensure compliance of performance commitments of bidders the government will now raise the guarantee amount to a minimum of Rs 500 crore.”
Earlier, bidders had to deposit Rs 300 crore as bid bond.
The Standing Committee on Energy in its report on the Ultra Mega Power Project had also severely indicted the Central Electricity Authority for “not having given a serious thought” before selecting project sites for the proposed 9 4,000 mega watt ultra mega power plants to be established by private players.