Thursday, January 29, 2009

JSW to snap ties with Maytas, cancel two township contracts

Printed from

JSW to snap ties with Maytas, cancel two township contracts
28 Jan 2009, 2209 hrs IST, PTI

MUMBAI: Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group today said it would cancel the Rs 96-crore township project given to Maytas Infra, a company run by the
family of tainted Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju.

"We will change the contractor (Maytas Infra) for our two projects -- Ratnagiri in Maharashtra and Vijayanagar in Karnataka," JSW Steel Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Sajjan Jindal told reporters here.

The diversified conglomerate said it would not like to do business with a company involved in a "scam".

"We would not like to do business with a company that is involved in any scam. There is no one in that company anymore to whom we can complain in case of a slowdown (in work). So (it is) better to change the contractor," Jindal said.

The decision to cancel the contracts comes barely a fortnight after the JSW Group expressed confidence in the beleaguered firm and said it was "happy" with the progress on the projects.

JSW Group had given the Rs 53.60 crore order to build a township at Vijaynagar in Karnataka in September 2007, by way of competitive bidding, to the infrastructure company. Maytas Infrastructure bagged another order worth Rs 42.91 crore to construct the township in Ratnagiri in August 2008.

For the Ratnagiri project, JSW did not pay any advance while for the twonship contract in Karnataka it has paid less than the work done by Maytas, he said.

"One contract which is for our energy company at Ratnagiri has not started and we have not made any payment. They (Maytas) had not even given the bank guarantee and unless they give a bank guarantee we can not pay them advance," he said.

"For the township project in Vijayanagar, advances paid by us are less than the work Maytas has done," he said.

Monday, January 26, 2009

JSW to examine ties with Maytas

Indian Express
Priyadarshi Siddhanta Posted online: Jan 27, 2009 at 0119 hrs

New Delhi : Barely days after the Orissa government decided to put activities of beleaguered IT giant Satyam’s infrastructure arm Maytas Infra under the scanner, Sajjan Jindal-promoted JSW has now decided “to review” its ties with the company in view of various reports about the company in the media.

Maytas had bagged orders worth about Rs 100 crore to build two townships for employees of JSW Steel in Vijaynagar (Karnataka) and for JSW Energy worth Rs 53.60 crore and at Ratnagiri (Maharashtra) worth Rs 42.90 crore. “In view of the reports coming in about Maytas, we intend to review our ties with it next week,” JSW Group chief financial officer and JSW Steel director (finance) Seshagiri Rao told The Indian Express. Reports say Maytas had completed about 35 per cent work in Vijayanagar, where JSW Steel is expanding its capacity to 7 MTPA. In Ratnagiri the group has a 1,200 MW power project. The project in Vijayanagar was awarded to Maytas in September 2007 after competitive bidding.

The Naveen Pattnaik government in Orissa too has asked KVK Nilachal Power company to make it clear by next week whether it wants to continue to partner with Maytas Infra or would go alone on developing the 1,200 MW power project in Cuttack district of the coastal state. The state has also asked the firm to spell out in detail on how it intends to raise the money for the same if it preferred to go alone.

“We had extensive interactions with representatives of KVK Nilachal Company here (Bhubaneswar) yesterday and asked them whether they wanted to continue with Maytas in developing the power project or would they prefer to go alone. In either case they will have to spell out the ways through which they intend to raise resources for executing the project,” Orissa energy secretary P K Jena had said. According to reports emanating from Orissa, KVK Nilachal is not averse to going alone on the project in case Maytas was out of it. “They (KVK Nilachal) said they will have express deliberations with Maytas officials and let us know by next week,” he pointed out. Maytas is hogging the limelight as never before and recently its CEO P K Madhav quit the company recently in view of his attention and energy being used to address the legal matters pertaining to the Nagarjuna Finance case.


Friday, January 23, 2009

New CERC guidelines gladden power generators : New CERC guidelines gladden power generators
New CERC guidelines gladden power generators news
22 January 2009

To the approval of the power generation industry, the Central Electricity Regulatory Committee (CERC) has issued a new notification that deals with the tariff computation for the years 2009-10 to 2013-14.

The new rules increase the return on equity for the period between 2009 and 2014 from 14 per cent to 15.5 per cent. The enhanced returns for generation companies would flow directly to the bottom line, as tariffs for power generation and transmission companies are fixed based on the sum of certain specified fixed and variable costs, to which the permissible return on equity is added.

In addition, projects that are completed on time will get an extra incentive of 50 basis points, or 16 per cent ROE. However, the regulation that only 30 per cent of the capital cost of a project may be funded by equity remains unchanged. The rest has to be funded by debt.

Under the new norms, the depreciation rate goes up to 5.28 per cent from the earlier 3.6 per cent, which will improve generating companies' top lines as well.

The irritating 'advance against depreciation' (AAD) clause has also been removed. AAD was introduced mainly to ensure that higher fixed costs are recovered in the earlier years so as to enable the project developer to repay loans.

In a move to encourage efficiency, fixed cost recovery would now be based on 85 per cent plant availability factor (PAF), as against the earlier 80 per cent plant load factor (PLF). The latter is an indication of demand, which is generally not within the control of the producer.

Though these steps will bring immediate benefit only companies that are subject to CERC, there may also be indirect benefits to private players in the future, as state governments will tend to follow the central guidelines. However, each state has a different timeline for this - Maharashtra's is 2009-10, while Gujarat is aiming at 2010-11.

The immediate beneficiaries would be the National Thermal Power Corp, Neyveli Lignite Corp, and Powergrid Corp. Prasanna Kumar, chairman and managing director of Neyveli, said in a TV interview that profits will increase and there will be incentive for generators to produce more power. He sees additional profit for future projects at Rs 32.5 crore, and is of the view that the additional depreciation will not impact bottomlines.

Sanjiv Goenka of the Calcutta Electric Supply Corp (CESC), an RPG group company, said that the CERC guidelines are equally good for private companies and it is up to state regulators to implement them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

NPCIL-NTPC joint venture idea for nuclear power

AEC endorses NPCIL-NTPC joint venture idea for nuclear power

State-owned Nuclear Power Corporation and NTPC have moved a step closer towards setting up a joint venture for nuclear power production, with Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) endorsing the idea of synergy between the two.

"NTPC and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) had already signed an MOU late last year for the joint venture with a holding of 51 per cent by NPCIL and 49 per cent by NTPC. The joint venture proposal of these two undertakings was taken up for discussion on Monday by AEC which endorsed the idea," sources told PTI.

If India has to speed up the nuclear capacity to its ambitious target of 60,000 MW by 2030, it was important to take advantage of vast experience of NTPC, predominantly engaged in thermal power production, sources said.

"With nuclear expertise of NPCIL and NTPC's experience in power production, a long-term perspective of the synergy was favourably considered by the AEC," they said.

The AEC will deliberate upon the proposal in due course to work out details of terms and conditions, safeguards and other issues for the smooth functioning of the joint venture.

After working out the details, the proposal will go for cabinet approval and once approved, this will be the first joint venture to set up nuclear power plants in India.

NTPC has a good track record of producing over 27,000 MW of thermal power using mostly coal, and is in an advantageous position in terms of distribution and transmission of power and a wide networking with state electricity boards, sources said.

At present, 17 nuclear plants are run by NPCIL, an undertaking under the Department of Atomic Energy.

NPCIL has nuclear power plants at Tarapur (Maharashtra), Kakrapar (Gujarat), Kaiga (Karnataka), Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu), Kota (Rajasthan) and Narora (Uttar Pradesh) with a total capacity of 4120 MW and with six more plants under advanced stages of completion, it would go up to 7280 MW in the next year. Experts feel that if the JV is approved by the Centre, it would pave the way for private sector in nuclear power generation.

However, it is unlikely for private sector to enter this area, at least in the next five to six years as it required amendments in Indian Atomic energy Act besides working out nitty-gritties of the 123 agreement and India specific safeguards agreements with IAEA.

Already companies like Larsen and Toubro (L&T), Tata Power, Reliance Infrastructure, GMR, Jindal group, Hindujas, BHEL have evinced interest in setting up nuclear power plants.

Also, last week, US power major Westinghouse signed an MoU with L&T for fabrication and construction of a nuclear reactor in India. L&T is already supplying critical components for the construction of nuclear power plants to NPCIL besides providing civil work.

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@ Copyright 2008 India Today Group.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

People Power troubles Athena Power in Chhattisgarh

Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:05 am (PST)

In a major set back to Hyderabad-based Athena Power Projects (APPL)
public hearing had to be cancelled midway on 15th January due to
strong people agitation.

Athena Chhattisgarh Power Pvt. Ltd signed MoU with Chhattisgarh
Government to set up 1200 MW Coal based TPP with investment around
six thousand crore INR. Company decided to set up plant in Raigarh
district but due to agitation and demand of high price for land they
had to shift in another District Janjgir-Champa. Accordingly Public
Hearing was organized in village Singhitarai of Tehasil Dabhara.

Thousand of men & women from nearby villages approached at the venue
shouting and banners posters in hand "No information No hearing"
"Need land but No Company".

As usual administration did nothing to know the people about hearing
and EIA reports were not made available to Panchayats. Venue too was
fixed at remote place about 2-3 KM inside from main road. Due to
unanimously strong protest and procedural lapses raised by activists
of 'Jan Chetana' presiding officer had to acknowledge lapses
publicly and cancel the public hearing.

Even after announcement of cancellation people did not leave the
venue and company representatives hardly could leave safe under
police force.

Move on to exempt projects from EIA

Deccan Herald - Move on to exempt projects from EIA
Move on to exempt projects from EIA
DH News Service, New Delhi:

The Prime Minister’s Office on Friday proposed a new amendment to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), 2006 granting exemption to “certain projects” from environmental clearance for the next three years in states where no EIA authorities have been formed so far.

But the move is expected to trigger reactions from environmentalists, who claim that all sorts of industrial projects may be allowed under the garb of this notification without caring a hoot for the well being of the environment.

“In view of the delay being caused to expansion and modernisation projects due to several states not having constituted their EIA authorities yet, it is proposed to exempt a certain category of projects for up to three years,” the PMO said.

“Since the nature of the exemption was not specified, anything from power plant and paper mills to collieries and foundries may be allowed without the green clearance. The notification is an anti-thesis to the spirit of the EIA,” activist Leo Saldanha from Bangalore-based Environment Support Group told Deccan Herald.

“First you create an EIA, which states can not implement because of the draconian nature of the law. Then you bypass the EIA process arguing that no authorities have been set up. It’s like abandoning the entire environmental regulatory system,” he said.

Last July Kerala had rejected EIA questioning the real purpose of the assessment system. Tamil Nadu too had taken up the issue back in 2006.

“Deliberate expulsion of the specificity (in the list of projects to be exempted) means anything can get through,” said Saldanha who worked on the EIA norms since the last eight years.

Till the time of filing the report, the detailed notification is neither available on the website of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest nor on the PMO site.

Projects for modernisation and expansion using non-polluting technologies and processes which do not increase the pollution load are exempted from the purview of the EIA Notification.

Biomass based power plants up to 50MW capacity and prospecting of minerals are proposed to be exempted from the purview of the EIA notification.

Officials, however, claim that the notification aimed at improving the environmental vigil by making it compulsory for project proponents to make public the terms of the environmental clearance. They are to insert advertisement in at least two local dailies giving the details of the terms and condition behind the eco-clearance. Also local administrations – the municipality of panchayat – have to be kept in the loop.

The activists argue that these options are already available in the EIA norms and the new notification is nothing but an “eyewash” to grant bigger industrial and infrastructure projects with foreign funding without the necessary eco-clearance.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Load-shedding to be reduced by an hour in mid-February

Load-shedding to be reduced by an hour in mid-February-Pune-Cities-The Times of India
Printed from

Load-shedding to be reduced by an hour in mid-February
16 Jan 2009, 0216 hrs IST, TNN

PUNE: State energy minister Sunil Tatkare on Thursday announced that load-shedding in the state will be reduced further by one hour in mid-February when around 600 MW additional power will be available from Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd (RGPPL). Addressing a news conference here Tatkare stated that the hour-long relief in load-shedding announced on Tuesday was because of increase in generation.

"We recently reduced the load-shedding hours in the state but some political parties claimed that this reduction is due to the decrease in demand, which is not true," Tatkare said, adding, "Load-shedding was reduced because more power became available during past month."

He said that around 860 mw electricity was available in the state, from four different sources. Two hundred MW electricity has come from RGPPL, while 300 MW power has come from Uran Gas plant. The supply of coal has increased thermal power generation by 250 MW and rest 110 MW came from Sipat Project.

Tatkare stated that 600 mw additional power was likely to be available by mid-February. Out of this, 300 mw will be available by end of January and remaining in mid-February. Apart from this, more power generation is expected in the month of May. Tatkare said renovation and repairing of thermal power stations in the state was being undertaken which will further increase availability of power.

According to the minister, the renovation will cost around Rs 4,500 crore and will generate additional 1,200 MW power. "It will be available during the next three years and renovation works will be carried out at Bhusaval, Khaparkheda and Chandrapur power stations," he said.

"Along with additional generation, saving of around 1,000 MW will be achieved by feeder separation and single phasing," he said.

Yet another EIA Amendment !!

PIB Press Release
Press Information Bureau
Government of India

Friday, January 16, 2009
Prime Minister's Office

16:22 IST

Government of India has initiated the process of further rationalizing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006 with the issue of a draft notification inviting comments. These revisions have been made in view of experience gained in the last two years. The proposed changes seek to make the notification more comprehensive, simplify procedure where required and also enhance powers of states with respect to certain types of clearances.

For the first time it proposes to proactively provide for increasing societal vigil on environmental projects by making it compulsory for project proponents to make public the terms of the environmental clearance. The draft notification provides for the project proponent to compulsorily make public at their cost the terms of the environmental clearances obtained by them by advertising in two local newspapers of the district/state where the project is located. In addition, copies of the environmental clearances will also have to be made available by the sanctioning authorities to the local bodies whether panchayats or municipal bodies where the project is located and to relevant government offices at the local level. The Central and State authorities would also place the environment clearances on their websites.

These steps are intended to ensure that the conditions of environmental clearances are strictly complied with by the project proponents and in case of any lapse, this could be brought to notice by the local population or its representatives. This is expected to remedy situations where the enforcement is dependent on enforcement authorities on whom citizens cannot mount any pressure in the absence of their knowledge of the provisions of the environmental clearances. It is also expected that this will move the environmental protection agenda into the public domain and would be in keeping with the spirit of disclosure involved in the Right to Information Act.

Adoption of non-polluting technologies and processes which do not increase the pollution load and conservation of natural resources is sought to be promoted by liberalising existing provisions. Projects for modernisation and expansion using such technologies and processes are exempted from the purview of the EIA Notification. Biomass based power plants up to 50MW capacity and prospecting of minerals are proposed to be exempted from the purview of the notification. Further, in view of the delay being caused to expansion and modernisation projects due to several states not having constituted their EIA authorities yet, it is proposed to exempt a certain category of projects from scoping for three years.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

JSW not to cancel order to Maytas

JSW not to cancel order to Maytas - Software-Infotech-The Economic Times
JSW not to cancel order to Maytas
15 Jan 2009, 0014 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group is not planning to cancel the Rs 100-crore order given to Maytas Infrastructure, run by promoters of
fraud-hit Satyam Computers, as it is “happy” with the progress made by the firm on construction of two township projects.

“We are happy with the work undertaken by Maytas. We are not looking to cancel the order unless the company defaults on the contract,” JSW Group CFO Seshagiri Rao said.

About 35% of the work has been completed in Vijayanagar, where JSW Steel is expanding the capacity of its unit to about 7 mtpa, he said and added that construction activity at the Ratnagiri site, where the group has a 1,200 MW power project, has recently started.

JSW Group, which is predominantly interested in steel and the power sector, had given the Rs 53.60 crore order to build a township at Vijaynagar in Karnataka in September 2007, by way of competitive bidding to the infrastructure company promoted by the kin B Ramalinga Raju, the disgraced former Satyam chairman.

Maytas infrastructure bagged another order worth Rs 42.91 crore to construct the township in Ratnagiri in August 2008.

“We had also given the second order through competitive bidding to Maytas. They had past experience in setting up townships and we had reviewed its work on the Vijaynagar project also. They were technically qualified for our project,” he added.

Moreover, the group downplayed the appointment of former senior executive of Satyam, Sailesh Shah, as the JSW Group president (strategy), saying, he was “well” qualified for the post.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

MSEB officials (Real beneficiaries of our TPPs) under probe

Electricity board officials under probe-Mumbai-Cities-The Times of India

Printed from

Electricity board officials under probe
11 Jan 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) has ordered a high-level probe against some of its senior officials who are accused of accepting bribes.

According to agency reports, Mario Cavinom, a senior executive of a valve manufacturing company in the US bribed MSEB officials to bag lucrative contracts between March 2003 and 2007. Covino pleaded guilty before a US district court judge to the charges of making corrupt payments to the tune of US $ 1,000,000 to officials of several state-owned entities worldwide, including MSEB.

MSEB director Ajoy Mehta confirmed that an inquiry has been ordered. "We will study the case, particularly on if we have a treaty with the US in such cases. We will also take up the case with the state and the Centre to obtain specific documents from the US court. Once we get the documents, we will decide the course of action,'' Mehta said.

According to official records, A M Ambhore was a member of the technical staff and A S Pophale was MSEB director when the board had purchased the valves from the US-based company. "We will seek information from these officials,'' a senior MSEB official said.

According to reports, MSEB had ordered high pressure valves from a US-based company for the expansion of the board's thermal power station in Nagpur. "Owing to a row over the purchase, further orders were stalled and an agreement was signed with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd for supply of valves,'' the official said.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Suryachaktra Power arm to set up solar power unit

The Hindu Business Line :
Business Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, January 9, 2009
MUMBAI - Suryachakra Power Corporation Ltd has informed BSE that Sri Panchajanya Power Pvt. Ltd is one of subsidiary companies of the company is already in setting up of 10 MW biomass power project at MIDC, Hingoli, Maharashtra.

In addition to this, Sri Panchajanya Power Pvt. Ltd has signed power purchase agreement with Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd on January 7 for setting up of 5 MW concentrated solar thermal power project at Hingoli, Maharashtra and t he company has already submitted required papers with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for registration to get generating subsidiary.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Coal Ash Spill Reveals Risks, Lapses in Waste Regulation

Jan 08 - McClatchy Washington Bureau

The coal ash spill in Tennessee last month is putting a spotlight on whether the ash from 450 other power plants around the country could be contaminating the nation's drinking water supplies.

Some coal ash is recycled into products such as cement or placed in secure landfills, but much of it ends up in gravel pits, abandoned mines and unlined landfills - or in ponds like the one that burst in Kingston, Tenn., on Dec. 22. In the Tennessee incident, 5.4 million cubic yards of sludge laced with arsenic and other toxic materials poured over 300 acres - making it one of the nation's worst environmental spills.

The EPA in 2000 decided that coal ash wasn't hazardous waste and left regulation up to the states. Now, however, environmental activists say the Tennessee spill shows the need for federal standards for how coal waste is handled at the coal-fired power plants around the nation.

"It's an insanely dangerous scenario that's been allowed to develop, but it's all under the radar screen," said Jeffrey Stant of the Environmental Integrity Project, a group formed by former EPA enforcement attorneys that's compiling data on coal ash disposal sites.

Stant said most states have lax regulations and that much of the monitoring is done on a voluntary basis by the utilities that own the plants that burn the coal.

He and other activists want the EPA to start with banning the common practice of sluicing coal waste into ponds and storing it there.

"When you put it along a river in an unlined lagoon, you threaten to contaminate the shallow alluvial aquifer that's right under the river," which provides drinking water, Stant said. He said he had no faith in the scientific evidence produced by the utility companies.

The Tennessee Valley Authority says tests show Kingston's drinking water is safe.

"We're not doing anything different than other utilities that have coal plants," said TVA spokesman Gil Francis. About half of the TVA coal waste is put in wet ponds like the one at Kingston, and the rest is compacted in dry ponds. TVA inspects the ponds annually, the state checks them quarterly, and TVA employees look at them daily, he said.

TVA, a corporation owned by the federal government, operates the plant at Kingston where spill occurred. The Kingston Fossil Plant was the largest coal-burning power plant in the world when it began operating in 1955. The plant normally consumes about 14,000 tons of coal a day.

TVA is the largest U.S. public power company, providing electricity to 9 million people in Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Virginia. It produces 60 percent of that electricity from coal at 11 plants completed mostly in the 1950s. The newest came online in the mid-1960s.

The House Committee on Natural Resources this week started considering whether to propose a law that would impose federal regulations on coal ash waste stored in ponds such as the one in Tennessee, said committee chief of staff Jim Zoia.

Steve Smith of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said that states have tended to defer to utility companies to take care of the waste, and the EPA has depended on industry to fill out voluntary surveys.

"It's clearly been neglected for the past eight or nine years but it's a problem that's only going to get worse as we do a better job of controlling air pollution," he said. "As you clean coal up, you can't just make the dirty stuff disappear. It's got to go somewhere."

Smith said he wants "some federal leadership to properly characterize this problem and get aggressive in setting up regulatory standards that people have some confidence in."

EPA spokeswoman Tisha Petteway said the American Coal Ash Association, which is made up of coal-fired power utilities and others that produce coal combustion waste, is the source of information about how much coal ash is generated in the country each year. EPA also measures toxic releases from individual plants.

Petteway said the latest data, an EPA and Energy Department survey from 1993, estimated there are about 300 surface ponds at electric power plants like the one in Tennessee.

"The majority of states" require controls on the site, liners in landfills and groundwater monitoring, Petteway said. The effectiveness of the protection, however, depends on whether states use the authority they have, she said in a written response to questions.

States are regulating coal ash more as new plants are added, she said.

Jim Roewer of the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group, a lobby group devoted to keeping the non-hazardous status of coal combustion waste, said he expects the Tennessee spill will be used in a new discussion of what national standards might be imposed, but his group believes they're not needed because state regulation works.

"Utilities are working to manage the ash responsibly," he said.

Roewer said there are about 600 coal ash disposal sites - about 45 percent of them surface ponds, and the rest landfills.

Lisa Evans, an attorney with Earthjustice, a law firm, said it's easier to say which state does a good job of regulation - Wisconsin - than to list the many who handle it poorly.

Nationally, coal combustion waste is estimated at more than 129 million tons a year, she said. The problem, she said, is that because of a lack of federal oversight, "we don't know where it goes."


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