Maha will not pay Rs 2,200 cr dues claimed by RGPPL: CM

Maharashtra will not pay Rs 2,200 crore dues claimed by Ratnagiri Gas and Power (RGPPL) but is ready to allow the company to sell its power from Dabhol plant to others, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said today.

"It has been our stand that we will not pay the Rs 2,200 crore dues claimed by RGPPL. We have, however, decided to communicate to them that if they want to sell the power to others, we will give our consent to them," Fadnavis told reporters after a review meeting here with the officials of the company, Union minister Piyush Goyal and bankers.

RGPPL, a joint venture between GAIL and NTPC, shut the 1967 MW Dabhol power plant on account of severe gas shortage. The company had signed a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the state utility Mahavitaran to supply power at Rs 3.30 per unit.

"As per the agreement, if the company had to change its source of fuel, they were required to take our consent. However, they did not do that and the cost of power escalated to Rs 5.50 per unit. "Our intention is clear, we will not purchase power at this high cost because after all we will have to pass on the burden to our consumers which we don't want to do," he said.

However, he said if the state receives assurance of getting the fuel (gas) at the pre-decided rates for the next three years, there are chances of its revival. "If we are assured of getting gas at the pre-determined rates (at the time of the PPA), there are chances of its revival.

Also, the LNG terminal being developed by GAIL can generate revenues to the tune of Rs 1200 crore for RGPPL, which is operating the terminal," he said. "The Centre now needs to formulate a plan to this effect after taking into account the views of all the stakeholders," said Fadnavis.

Asked whether the government had received proposals for privatisation of Dabhol plant, he said: "So far we have not received any such proposal. Selling the project is also not on the cards. Unless there is ensured fuel no one will come to buy the project.

We believe this project should be revived as it is a national asset." Last month, Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal had said the Centre was open to options of privatisation of the plant. GAIL and NTPC hold 32.9 per cent each in RGPPL while Maharashtra has 17.4 per cent stake.

Banks, including SBI, ICICI Bank, IDBI and Canara Bank, which hold 16.8 per cent stake in the company, have a cumulative exposure of Rs 8,500 crore in the project. The project has been facing difficulty due to non-availability of gas and dues to banks are not being paid by the company on time.

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