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Government plans global bids for Rs 20,000 crore power projects

NEW DELHI: The government plans to invite global bids for a dozen interstate transmission projects worth over Rs 20,000 crore in the next two months to connectpower generation projects in states includingChhattisgarh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

The standing committee for power system planning has cleared the projects and just a nod from the empowered committee on transmission is awaited, a senior power ministry official told ET. The government expects companies such as 
Power Grid Corp of India, Sterlite Industries, L&T Infra, Power Grid Corp of India, Tata Projects, Kalptaru Power Transmission, UK-based Balfour BeattyInfra and Spain's Isolux Corsan to evince interest in the projects, the official added.

"Once cleared, the power ministry will distribute the projects between 
Rural Electrification Corp and Power Finance Corp that are the nodal bidding agencies," said the official, who did not wish to be named, adding that these agencies would be instructed to complete the bidding in six months instead of the usual eight-10 months.

"A meeting of the empowered committee on transmission is long pending and is expected any time now," the official said. The committee has not met since its chairperson S Jayaraman retired in February-March this year.

At present, power transmission projects worth Rs 22,000 crore are either under bidding or have just been awarded. States including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, 
Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharasthra are auctioning licences to set up intrastate transmission links since they do not have money to build them, a person familiar with the matter said.

Industry experts say the country's power transmission sector has stabilised, with much fewer players bidding for projects being auctioned by the central and state governments. The number of bidders has decreased from 35 a year ago to about a dozen companies which are putting up realistic bids unlike the aggressive numbers quoted earlier.