Panel set up on UMPP bids; group to meet

New Delhi: Government has set up an expert panel to analyse the methodology adopted in the bidding process for ultra mega power projects in Odisha and Tamil Nadu, which received tepid response from the private sector.

The group will soon submit its report after examining the bidding documents to determine if the methodology adopted at the time of tendering for Odisha and Tamil Nadu UMPPs was fair, Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal said today. He did not divulge the timeline for the submission of the report.

“We have finalised an expert committee and I have met some of the experts myself. Before we appoint them, we made sure that we are getting the best of people,” Goyal said at a press conference here.

The 5-member panel includes Pratyush Sinha (ex-Central Vigilance Commissioner), Pramod Deo (ex-CERC Chairman) and R N Choubey, Special Secretary, Ministry of Power.

The first meeting of the group is scheduled for Friday, sources said, adding that the reason for scrapping the bids for these two UMPPs as well as reviewing the standard bidding documents by the government is the lacklustre response by the private companies.

The companies also felt that the bidding structure for the UMPPs, based on domestic coal, was not fully in consonance with the Act and Rules governing coal mining in the country, sources said. UMPP is a coal-based power project of 4,000 MW generation capacity.

For the Tamil Nadu UMPP, the private companies in the fray were Adani Power, CLP India, Jindal Steel & power, JSW Energy, Sterlite Energy and Tata Power. Of these, four bought the Request For Proposal document but decided not to go ahead further in the process.

The Odisha UMPP saw nine bidders, including Adani Power, CLP India, GMR Energy, Jindal Steel and Power, JSW Energy and Sterlite Energy. After the private companies pulled out, only NTPC and NHPC were left for bidding.

Meanwhile, Goyal reiterated that the government hopes to award 4-5 UMPPs this year.

He added that the country has a potential of executing up to even 9 UMPPs.