Bhel, NHPC in joint bid to bring Myanmar project back on track

Bhel, NHPC in joint bid to bring Myanmar project back on track
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First Published: Fri, Feb 13 2009. 12 20 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Feb 13 2009. 10 28 AM IST
New Delhi: State-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) and National Hydroelectric Power Corp. Ltd (NHPC) may together build?the 2,400MW Tamanti hydropower project in Myanmar, setting the delayed Rs14,000 crore project back on track.
Tamanti is part of India’s efforts to improve diplomatic and economic ties with its eastern neighbour, which has rich deposits of natural gas, a fuel India needs. Myanmar has gas reserves of 89.722 trillion cu. ft, of which 18.012 can be easily extracted.
“The talks with Myanmar for the Tamanti project have restarted,” a Bhel executive said, adding that top officials of both firms visited Myanmar last week. They were part of a team of businessmen, lawmakers and bureaucrats accompanying India’s vice-president Hamid Ansari on a four-day tour of Myanmar.
“We are looking at reviving and developing the project through a joint venture with NHPC,” the Bhel executive said, requesting anonymity. Bhel makes equipment for power plants and NHPC builds and operates hydroelectric projects.
If Indian firms successfully build the Tamanti project, it could lead to further projects in Myanmar, helping India to utilize its energy resources that includes natural gas.
S.K. Garg, chairman and managing director of NHPC, didn’t respond to phone calls or to a message left on his mobile phone. Queries emailed to the Myanmar embassy went unanswered.
Once completed, the Tamanti project in northern Myanmar is expected help control floods and irrigate farms. In return, India will get bulk of the electricity generated through proposed transmission links between the two nations.
The project was delayed after NHPC could not start work on it three years after submitting a feasibility report, saying that it had too much to do back home, as reported by Mint on 27 March.
Shubhranshu Patnaik, an executive director at consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, said international projects such as this will materialize only through state negotiations. “There are also larger issues about project financing as in countries such as Myanmar...as these may not get commercial bank funding and...have to depend on government funding,” he said.
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First Published: Fri, Feb 13 2009. 12 20 AM IST