Reliance again petitions court over Brakel allotment

Shimla: With the Himachal government having decided to go ahead with signing of an implementation agreement for execution of a 960 MW project to Brakel Corporation NV, a Dutch company; Reliance Energy, a rival for the project has petitioned the court a second time, saying that agreement terms stand violated.

Overcoming serious differences about allotting the mega hydropower to an upstart company, the Himachal cabinet last month finally gave its nod for continuing with the agreements for the Jhangi-Thopan-Powari project on Satluj River with Brakel.

The project was allotted on the basis on global bidding in December 2006 but as the company failed to pay bid winning Rs 36 lakh per MW upfront money on time, allegations of tender term violations surfaced.

While the outgoing congress government in December 2007 left the matter unsettled, the incoming BJP government headed by chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal issued a stern notice, demanding implementation of the terms or face project cancellation.

Brakel promoters coughed up Rs 173 crore within the notice period and also paid the additional Rs 20 crore the government demanded against delayed payments.

However, signing of the implementation agreement was stalled by the courts for Reliance Energy petitioned the courts, sighting clauses that the government had overlooked the terms of reference for allotting the project.

The government tried to wriggle out of the situation by asking the courts to decide the matter.

The earlier petition of Reliance Energy was held in fructuous by Himachal High Court, when the government had let the court know that they would soon decide whether or not to cancel the allotment to Brakel for violation of terms mentioned in the tender document.

With the government having concluded that any violations that may have occurred, were condonable and Brakel would be invited to sign the implementation agreement, Reliance Energy has moved the court again.

The rival bidding company maintains that the agreements with Brakel be cancelled for violations of bidding terms and the project be instead allotted to the second highest bidding company on terms of the bid winning company.

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