Chinese power generation equipment manufacturerDongfang Electric Corp. has been unable to secure long-term work permits for its engineers to work on projects in India and says that this is affecting the timelines for these projects.
The company is working on a few projects in India, including two projects of the West Bengal Power Development Corp. with capacities of 600MW and 300MW at Sagardighi and Durgapur, respectively. It also won Lanco Amarkantak’s 600MW project at Korba in Chhattisgarh.
Dongfang engineers require employment visas to work on these project. The company claims that after getting a visa to enter the country, its engineers need to get the permission of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) within three months if they wish to stay in India for a period of one year.
“The projects are being affected due to delays as the permission from MHA is very difficult to get. For example, for the West Bengal power projects, getting our engineers permission requires travelling from the project sites to the Foreigners Regional Registration Office in Kolkata, which takes a lot of time. Even after doing the rounds, many of our engineers do not get permission within three months and have to return to China,” said Wen Ya, the company’s chief representative in India.
When contacted, Bsab Kumar Talukdar, the foreigner regional registration officer at Kolkata, said, “There are certain parameters. Government of India is not supposed to disclose anything about a visa application. It is only MHA which is authorized to give the extension for the first time. Beyond this, I cannot comment.”
Dongfang also plans to jointly bid for power projects in India and is eyeing the government’s ambitious 4,000MW ultra mega power projects.
The company manufactures equipment for large hydroelectric power stations, thermal power stations and nuclear power stations.
It also bids for contracts for setting up power generation stations and has taken up power-project contracts in more than 10 countries.
“The government needs to take a look at this issue as there is a lot of trade between India and China, and this issue needs to be addressed on a bilateral level. In areas where there is a security concern, it is fine, but in sectors such as power, it needs to be addressed,” said Arvind Mahajan, executive director at accounting firm KPMG.
Dongfang has a current manufacturing capacity of 31,000MW per year. Of this, 26,000MW is in thermal capacity with the balance being in hydroelectric power generation. That compares with the current capacity of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd of 7,500MW per year, which the company plans to augment to 15,000MW by 2009.