NTPC’s Koldam project faces delay

NTPC’s Koldam project faces delay

The plans of NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power generation company, to diversify into hydroelectric power have suffered another setback with adverse environmental conditions forcing the company to miss its deadline (November 2008 for the first phase) for the 800MW project at Koldam in Himachal Pradesh.

Earlier, the Arunachal Pradesh government had indicated that it would cancel the contracts awarded to NTPC to set up hydroelectric power projects in the state.

 “Nothing has started on the project (at Koldam) except grouting work (drilling a hole in the rock for the foundation work and then pouring concrete into it). There are contractor problems," a senior government official associated with the process, but who did not wish to be identified, said. The first phase of the project will now be commissioned only in July 2009.

NTPC has bet big on hydro-power generation in an attempt to become an integrated energy utility with a diversified fuel mix. The company’s current projects include Loharinag Pala (600MW), Tapovan Vishnugad (520MW), Lata Tapovan (171MW), Rammam III (120MW) Etalin (4,000MW) and Attunli (500MW).

NTPC currently has a power generation capacity of 27,404MW, which it plans to increase to 50,000MW by 2012. Of the 22,596MW it plans to add, 15,180MW will be coal-based, 4,550MW will be gas-based and the balance from hydropower.

K.B. Dubey, director (projects), NTPC, confirmed that the project has been delayed. “The delay has been primarily due to three reasons: landslide, time taken in settlement of rates with the contractor in the event of the landslide, and the need to do more and deeper grouting."

The contractor for the project is Thailand-based Italian-Thai Development Public Co. (ITD). The contract fee, according to the government official, was set at Rs650 crore.

A senior ITD executive, who did not wish to be identified, said: “Delay in land acquisition is also one of the reasons that have contributed to the overall delays in the project."