State-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd’s 740MW gas-based power project in India’s north-eastern Tripura state is likely to be shelved due to difficulties in shipping equipment through Bangladesh.
ONGC planned to ship power generation equipment from the Haldia Port in West Bengal to Bangladesh and then to Tripura, since moving it by road within India was extremely difficult, said a company executive, who asked not to be named.
Cumbersome cargo: A gas turbine rotor on an assembly bed at Bhel, Hyderabad. Equipment makers had shown little interest in the Rs3,844 crore project, to be commissioned by 2012, due to transport issues.
“By shipping the equipment, the transportation time would have been reduced by half. However, there are difficulties in using Bangladesh as a transit route, and the project will be difficult to implement,” he said without elaborating further.
In fact, equipment makers had shown limited interest in the Rs3,844 crore-ONGC Tripura Power Co. Ltd project, scheduled to be commissioned by 2012, due to transportation issues.
Five companies, including state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, or Bhel, Alstom Projects India Ltd, Essar Power Ltd, Reliance Energy Ltd and Larsen and Toubro Ltd, had earlier shown interest in the project but final bids were placed only by Alstom and Bhel, the latter emerging the lowest bidder.
Mint had reported on 27 May that India could miss by 20%, or 13,855MW, its target of adding almost 70,000MW of power over the next four years because of poor transport infrastructure.
“We will try and get help on a government-to-government level so that this project is not abandoned,” said a Bhel executive, who did not wish to be identified. “We have been drawing the attention of the power ministry to the poor infrastructure, which is affecting faster and timely deliveries of power generation equipment,” he added.
“The infrastructure problem in the country leaves a lot to be desired. Inland sites have a problem of transporting large-sized machines because of logistics,” said T. Sankaralingam, former chairman and managing director of NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power generation company. “There has to be a clear-cut road map for transportation.”
“In sites such as these, one needs to make a compromise between technology and cost. Either you assemble the equipment at site or transport it,” he pointed out.
Power shortages due to limited capacity and growing electricity theft threaten India’s ability to sustain the 9% a year economic growth posted in the past two years.