Even as Jharkhand Chief Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Wednesday said there were many suitors for the Tilaiya ultra mega power project, the state-run NTPC has staked claim to the 3,960-MW thermal electricity generation venture.
"We are more than willing to come on board," Arup Roy Choudhury, chairman and managing director of NTPC, said on the margins of a conference in New Delhi. "There is a new government. There is a total paradigm shift," Choudhury added.
The development comes a day after Reliance Power said it hhas ended the power purchase pact for the project at Tilaiya, citing delays in the handing over of land for the power station and the coal mines, as also in getting a site clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
"The required land is yet to be made available. Even the forest land in the power station area, for which the Stage-II Forest Clearance was accorded by the central government way back in November 2010, has not been handed over till now," the company said in a statement.
Reacting to the move, the Jharkhand chief secretary said he was surprised. Anew government is in place. We are doing everything to facilitate investors. The timing of the announcement has surprised us," he told reporters in Ranchi.
"We can't believe land was issue for the withdrawal of Reliance from the ultra mega power project. Reliance needed 2,500 acre of land. We have already transferred 478 acres," the chief secretary said.
"Reliance, in the last meeting with the energy secretary, had raised the power tariff issue. It seems the project was not feasible for Reliance. This may be the reason of the withdrawal," he added.
But Reliance Power said it had pursued in vain with the state government for some five-and-half years and held more than 25 review meetings. But there was no movement forward. It said that, based on the present estimates, the project cannot be completed before 2023-24.
Even the NTPC chairman admitted to some irritants but was hopeful. "Earlier there were problems and even NTPC faced it. But going forward, these issues will be resolved," Choudhury said at the event of All India Management Association.
He said the state-run company has already evinced interest in the Patratu project in Jharkhand, which was under a lot of stress. "We see a new Jharkhand government and new hief minister who is very proactive," Choudhury said, referring to new state government under Raghubar Das.
The chief secretary said all the deputy commissioners of all the districts and other officials had already been asked to be clear in mindset so as to facilitate land acquisition and the other needs of investors.
"Around 10,000 MW of power plants of both private and public sector are in the pipeline. We are committed to fast-track the process of land acquisition and remove other bottlenecks like forest clearance to facilitate the investors."
"We're here to make the investment process easy."