TEESTA URJA AGREES TO 3 STATE GOVT OFFICIALS AS BOARD MEMBERS
GANGTOK, 26 July: The Energy and Power Department and Teesta Urja, the joint venture partner developing the 1200 MW Teesta Stage III at Chungthang, North Sikkim, are on course to settle their dispute and in the process, the state government has finally got its equity in the near Rs.6000 crore project. Not only has the Board of Directors of Teesta Urja agreed to the infusion of the state’s share of 26% equity into the project, which has been a matter of dispute for a long time now and also pending in two separate forums, but in a meeting held on 19 July, the Board also allowed for three state nominated officials to be part of the board with one of the nominated officials to be the Chairman of the board, as per the conditions laid down by the state government.
The dispute between Teesta Urja and the state government has been on for some years now particularly over the infusion of the state’s share of 26% equity into the project as per the memorandum of understanding. The state government, till now, had not infused any equity into the project to lay claim on its share of equity. However, and as officials confirm, the state has now attained over 15% equity into the project and would soon acquire the remaining 11% of the total 26% equity. It has been informed that the Power Finance Corporation of India has sanctioned Rs.162 crores as the state’s equity into the Teesta Stage III project; this is out of the total amount of Rs.296 crores which the state government has to infuse in the project. The sanctioning authority being the Power Finance Corporation and the amount sanctioned as yet being Rs.162 crores, the state has now acquired over 15 % equity; the remaining amount is to be sanctioned soon, it is informed.
With the infusion of Rs.162 crores being made by the state government the Athena Projects Private Ltd (APPL), which has floated Teesta Urja, has approved the transfer of over 29 crore partly paid shares of the project to the government. In other words the state has paid share subscription of Rs.162 crores out of Rs.296 crores, this amount is equal to just over 15% equity of the total 26% equity due to the state. In fact these shares have been approved for transfer to the Sikkim Power Investment Corporation Limited which is the vehicle floated by the government for equity infusion in the mega hydel projects in the state. This, as informed, is without prejudice to all the cases underway concerning the disputes between Teesta Urja and the Power Department.
Besides this the Board of Directors of Teesta Urja on 19 July agreed to one of the principal conditions of the state government, that of inducting 3 officials of the government in the Board with one of them to be Chairman of the Board. Two officials, namely the Power Secretary and Finance Secretary have already been nominated as state representatives in the Board and the third official is yet to be nominated. The state official who will be chairman of the Board will remain so till commercial operation of the project, it was decided at the meeting.