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3 projects cut to 1; should use less land,says power secy

State land acquisition dilemmas continue to handcuff the progress of new Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) — this time three projects that had been projected for bidding before the end of the fiscal year have been trimmed to just one....

Written by KARTIKAY MEHROTRA | New Delhi | Published: February 23, 2010 2:35:52 am

State land acquisition dilemmas continue to handcuff the progress of new Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) — this time three projects that had been projected for bidding before the end of the fiscal year have been trimmed to just one,power secretary HS Brahma told The Indian Express. With land procurement now a well documented hurdle in the progression of large-scale power projects,the soon-to-be retired Brahma said private players and public sector undertakings must adopt policies that promote acquisition of fewer acres for similarly productive projects.

As recently as December,the government had projected three UMPPs — Sarguja in Chhatisgarh,Cheyyur in Tamil Nadu and Bedabahal in Orissa — for Request for Quotation (RFQ) by the end of the fiscal. With state governments unable to procure the necessary 4,000 mega watts (MW) per project in Tamil Nadu and Orissa,the Chhatisgarh project remains the only one set for bidding. “We will likely have it set for the end of the month,” Brahma said. “We cannot continue to go by these standards of 3,000 to 4,000 acres,we must devise a structure in which the land requirement is less.”

The government has already bid out 4 projects — awarded to Reliance Power (3) and Tata Power (1) — and had set its eyes on bidding out 5 more projects within the 12th five-year-plan. However,land acquisition continues to be a challenge for two Reliance projects: Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Tilaiya in Jharkhand. Despite the delays and obstacles in land acquisition and forest clearances,Central Electricity Authority officials are confident both projects can meet their commissioning targets.

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