The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) on Wednesday recommended an investigation into the awarding of the Tilaiya, Sasan and Krishnapatnam ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) to Reliance Power by the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on the ground that the Anil Ambani-controlled company was not eligible to bid for the projects.
The PAC report was tabled in Parliament a day after Reliance Power pulled out of Tilaiya power project in Jharkhand citing inordinate delay in allocation of land by the state government.
PAC wanted a probe into how an ineligible company walked away with UMPPs. A Reliance Power spokesperson said, “The matter is subjudice and pending in the Supreme Court.”
UMPP is a coal-based power project with 4,000 MW generation capacity. Besides, surplus coal from Chitrangi mine, which was to supply feedstock for the Sasan project so that it generates power at bid cost of Rs 1.19 a unit, was allowed to be diverted to the firm’s other power projectwhose tariff was already fixed based on coal linkage from costlier sources.
PAC recommended that the government should de-allocate the surplus coal/coal block from Sasan project and utilise it for sovereign national interest in consonance with the avowed objectives of passing on the benefit of cheaper coal to consumers.
The minimum technical qualifying criteria in the tender for four UMPPs stipulated that the bidder should have experience of developing projects in the last 10 years with aggregate capital costs of not less than Rs 3,000 crore.
PAC noted that a major part of the experiences claimed by Reliance Power was based on additions to the fixed assets instead of the prescribed capital expenditure pertaining to projects commissioned during the last 10 years.