Tripura’s BJP-IPFT government has decided to commence the dialogue pertaining to the purchase of 26 per cent equity shares of the ONGC Tripura Power Company (OTPC) run Palatana gas thermal power project from IL&FS, which stated to have “learnt to offload” their shares. The state government earlier had 0.5 per cent share in the project.
Speaking to reporters at his office in the state secretariat here this afternoon, Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath said that OTPC-run Palatana power project is a “very profitable” industry.
The 726.6 MW gas-based power project was formally started in 2014 as a joint venture of ONGC, IDFC, IL&FS and Government of Tripura.
The Ministry of Power allocated over 58 per cent power from Palatana project to Northeastern states. Among these, Assam was allocated 240 MW, Tripura got 196 MW, Meghalaya was granted an allocation of 79 MW, Manipur was given 42 MW, Nagaland was granted 27 MW, Arunachal Pradesh & Mizoram were allocated 22 MW each. OTPC reserved 98 MW for merchant sales.
Out of Tripura’s share in the project’s output, the state government is selling 160 MW on a daily basis to neighbouring Bangladesh. Law Minister Nath said that erstwhile Left Front government could have purchased equity shares from the power project and taken its advantage to turn Tripura towards self-reliance.
“I don’t know why they did not do so. But we were informed by the central government few days back about reports that IL&FS is likely to offload their share. So, we have decided to try to acquire all of it if possible”, he said.
IL&FS purchased 26 per cent equity shares at Rs. 291.20 crores. With an increase in value, the equity shares are now estimated at Rs. 300 crores. The minister claimed that the value of the shares is expected to appreciate in future.
A negotiation team comprising of officials from departments of industries and commerce, finance and power department would be formed to start negotiation for acquiring the equity shares.
The state government has also decided to revise reservation of otherwise able persons and increase it by 1 per cent.
Nath said that the state cabinet decided to increase reservation for the otherwise able persons from 3 per cent to 4 per cent in line with recent revisions of central government regulations for reservations as a part of rights of persons with disabilities.
“We have decided to include 24 forms of disabilities in the ambit of this reservation. People with disabilities would be divided innto four categories for better disbursement of benefits. The state government will soon introduce an ordinance on this issue”, the minister said.
The ordinance is likely to be placed as a bill in the winter session of the Tripura Assembly.