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Lanco violated norms in bagging solar projects: CSE

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) today alleged that Lanco Infratech flouted rules in bagging projects under the National Solar Mission, a charge refuted by the diversified group.

The Delhi-based NGO has alleged that Lanco created front companies and got about nine solar power projects having a total capacity of 235 MW.

This is about 40% of the 620 MW worth of projects auctioned by the government during the first batch of the first phase of the Mission, CSE said in a statement.

Raising strong objections to the charges, Lanco in a statement said the allegations were not cross-checked with the company and were wrongly perceived.

Noting that Lanco Group has equity participation in few of the companies that have won the National Solar Mission projects in 2010, the firm said the equity participation is within the permissible level.

"There is no illegality involved as reported by CSE... It is important to note that the bidders who Lanco supported were able to bid at one of the lowest tariffs as Lanco provided them the latest technology and complete EPC solutions for the projects," the company said.

Citing investigation by CSE and 'Down to Earth' magazine, the NGO said that seven more companies had direct links with Lanco -- some have Lanco employees and their family members as directors while others have strong commercial ties to the company.

"Based on the guaranteed feed-in tariff being paid to solar projects in the first phase, the company will get assured revenue of Rs 13,000 crore from these projects over a period of 25 years," CSE said.

As per the CSE, neither the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy nor the NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam have a mechanism to monitor the activities of companies that win a contract.

NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam is responsible for contracting, buying and selling of solar power. "The two agencies do not even provide the details of the projects and company addresses," the CSE statement said.

CSE also pointed out that its efforts to get information have been stonewalled by both the Ministry and NTPC.

"We need clean energy. Solar is the option for the future...This is why we are exposing this dubious deal. We hope it will lead to better governance and regulation of this energy source of the future," CSE Director General Sunita Narain said.

First Published: Wed, February 01 2012. 20:15 IST