IN A development of far-reaching implication to the power starved Madhya Pradesh, the Union Government has given coal linkage for the 4000-mw Sasan ultra mega power project coming in Sidhi district of the State. This decision has also given a much-needed boost to the ultra mega power projects programme being undertaken by the Union Power Ministry.
The Sasan power project was conceived of as a pit-head plant. With the ministry of coal allocating a coal block in the Sasan area, Mohear, for captive mining, the project has achieved a major breakthrough. According to sources, the Ministry of Coal has issued for formal orders for giving coal linkage.
With these developments, ultra mega power project of Madhya Pradesh, having estimated cost of Rs 16,000 crore, has become the first project of the country that has received coal linkage. A total of six such projects are coming in various states.
Madhya Pradesh Government has demanded 2000-mw power from the proposed project. In a recent Cabinet meeting, a decision was also taken for acquiring land for the proposed project.
When contacted, senior officers of the Energy Department expressed ignorance about this development. They, however, conceded that State Government is providing all necessary support for the proposed project and had urged the Union Government to provide 2000-mw power.
This decision has also come as a relief to over a dozen of companies that have qualified for the second round of bidding for the project. Companies that are participating in the commercial bidding include NTPC, AES Energy, Tata Power, Essar Power, Reliance Energy, Jindal Steel & Power, Torrent Power, Larsen & Toubro, Sterlite Industries.
Two consortia are also qualified for the second round. The government is hoping for a tariff of Rs 1.50 to Rs 1.80 per unit from the project. To ensure that the ultra mega power projects were translated into reality, the Ministry of Power had appointed the Power Finance Corporation (PFC) as the nodal agency for the shell companies that were to ensure that all the groundwork on the projects were completed before the projects were handed over to private sector developers.
It is learnt that the Union Government has opted for tariff-based competitive bidding for selecting a developer for the Sasan project.