Delay in Thopan Powari Jangi hydro-power project caused loss of Rs. 900 crore


Himachal Pradesh government has decided to go ahead with 960 megawatts Thopan Powari Jangi hydro-power project as it has filed affidavit before the Supreme Court yesterday, stating that it could no more delay the project as revenue loss mounted up to more than Rs. 900 crores.

The Division Bench of Supreme Court comprising of Justice T. S. Thakur and Chief Justice Vikramjit Singh yesterday hearing the appeal filed by the M/s Brakel Corporation and M/s Reliance Infrastructure Ltd. against the verdict of Himachal Pradesh High court quashed Jangi-Thopan-Powari hydro project. The M/s Reliance also appealed before the apex court that it was second highest bidder and should be alloted the project.

On September 4, 2013 cabinet decision was made in which  state had been given approval to initiate action for damages or penalty against M/s Brakel Corporation in the implementation of project as delay had caused loss of Rs. 900 crores mounting up with the delay in execution and re-allotment of it.

Rejecting the representations made by both the Netherlands based Brakel Corporation and Anil Ambani led Reliance Power for re-allotment project to come up in Kinnaur district, state has now decided to go for fresh bidding for the project. The rebidding is expected to benefit the state government almost by Rs. 10,000 crores.

Mr. J. S. Attri, a senior advocate who filed an affidavit in Supreme Court on Monday said that the state had decided to go for re-bidding the mega hydro-power project that is currently under litigation.

Division Bench has asked the appellants to file their reply within four weeks of this order while hearing the matter, he added.

Himachal Pradesh High Court had ordered cancellation of allotment of the project to Brakel Corporation (in 2006) on a petition filed by Reliance in October 2009.

Subsequently, the state has decided to invite fresh bids for the project and forfeit the upfront premium money amounting to Rs. 280.69 crores (USD 60 million) deposited by the Dutch firm with the government for delaying implementation of the project.

The cabinet decided to take action imposing heavy penalty of more than Rs. 1,365.86 crores on Brakel Corporation for causing delay. The earlier BJP government in Himachal had signed an agreement with Brakel in 2008, two years after the project was awarded to the Dutch company, for starting the pre-construction activities.

The BJP government too had filed its replies in the Supreme Court defending the allotment of project to Brakel, which is supported by Gujarat-based Adani group.

Reliance, a prominent bidder for the project, could not bag the project. However, after the change of the government, the company wrote a letter to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh offering an out-of-court settlement and suggesting the government to allot the project to it as the company was willing to match the bid made by Brakel Corporation.

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