SC notice to HP govt over power project



Shimla: The Supreme Court of India has issued notice to the Himachal Pradesh government for quashing the 960 MW Thopan-Powari-Jangi hydropower in Kinnaur district awarded to Brakel Corporation by inviting fresh bids for it. The state authorities here today confirmed that the apex court issued the notice to this effect on March 15 after hearing an appeal filed by Brakel.

Considering the appeal filed by Brakel challenging earlier ruling of HP high court dated October 7, 2009, ordering cancellation of the allotment of the 960 MW Thopan-Powari-Jangi hydropower project to Brakel on a petition filed by Reliance Infrastructure, one of the bidders. The court also attached the upfront premium deposited by the firm to the tune of hundreds of crore.

HP high court had allowed the writ petition and quashed the decision of the council of ministers dated November 25, 2008, by terming it arbitrary, illegal and irrational. State high court had gone against the alloted firm by maintaining that Brakel misrepresented the allotment of the two projects – Jangi Thopan and Thopan Powari – which were later combined into one project.

The court had stated that as Brakel was being favoured in this allotment, it cancelled the allotment and also ordered the state to re-advertise the said projects. Later, the state government invited fresh bids for the projects and also imposed a penalty of Rs 280.69 crore ($60 million) on Brakel for delaying the implementation of the project.

The Supreme Court division bench of Justices HS Bedi and Aftab Alam has referred the case to the division bench of Justices Aftab Alam and BS Chauhan as they have substantially heard the matter.

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