Bengaluru: The gas-fired power plant at Bidadi, which was supposed to resolve the city's power woes, might not see the light of the day, as the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) is not sure about going ahead with it.
Private firms have approached court challenging the award of contract to a blacklisted firm, thereby putting the project in jeopardy.
The 1400MW Bidadi power plant was supposed to be completed by 2012. Costing a whopping Rs 9000 crore, the power plant would have changed the industrial scene of the city once commissioned.
According to the KPCL, the plant, which would utilise natural gas to generate power, was waiting for gas pipelines to be setup by the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), which was drawing lines from Dabhol. The KPCL had earlier stated that once the pipeline was commissioned, it will enter into an agreement with GAIL to supply gas required for power generation; and GAIL had even agreed to supply gas. The KPCL had even blamed GAIL for inordinate delay in laying pipelines and had linked the delay in project with GAIL pipelines.
But, according to sources, GAIL is now denying the existence of any such agreement with the KPCL to supply gas to Bidadi plant. "Our infrastructure is ready. We are supplying gas to private firms like Kirloskar at Bidadi, but so far we do not have any agreement or arrangement with KPCL for Bidadi," sources in GAIL told Bfirst.in.
The trouble started when the KPCL called for global tenders to award work tenders in the year 2006-07. After the bids were opened, some of the firms objected to the tenders awarded to a particular company. They argued that the firm which had bagged the contract was a blacklisted firm and moved court challenging the tender. The matter is now pending before court. Following a huge investment, the KPCL has now resorted to silence, with officials even refusing to speak about it.
"The Yelahanka gas-based power plant will soon be a reality," said an official on condition of anonymity while avoiding mentioning Bidadi power plant.
An old proposal
The Bidadi project was conceived in the late nineties during the tenure of Chief Minister J H Patel. Initially, it was planned as a thermal plant. The KPCL planned to use drainage water accumulated in Byramangala Reservoir in Vrishabavathi valley for power generation.
How Bengaluru lost
The project aimed at reducing the Transmission and Distribution (T andD) of Bengaluru City. BESCOM had claimed that it can bring its T&D losses to a single digit from the existing 14 percent. Losses incurred while bringing power from generating stations such as Sharavathi, Bellary, Raichur and other places, which results in a transmission loss of five percent, would have reduced drastically due to the nearest Bidadi power plant, as it would cater to most of the city's power demand.
Most of the industrial firms situated in and around the city would have given up their captive power units and opted for power supplied by state power utilities.