Allegations cloud BEST’s solar power plan

The state’s plan to provide solar energy in addition to the regular power supply in the island city in 2013-14 has yet to take off, but allegations of corruption are already starting to creep in.

The BrihanMumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking committee on Wednesday resolved the three-year old issue of obtaining solar energy by approving a contract of 27 megawatts (MW) to two private companies for 25 years, from whom it will purchase energy at the cost of Rs 8.56. As a result, the city will procure approximately 45 million units of solar energy annually for the next 25 years.

However, the opposition claims one of the private companies was quietly added to the contract, without the due process being followed for the same.

Initially, the proposal comprising only a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Welspun Energy, Maharashtra, with a power capacity of 20MW was submitted before the BEST committee, but as BEST’s requirement is 30 MW, another private bidder was added to the proposal through an amendment by Sunil Ganacharya, a committee member.

“It is unfair to amend such an important proposal like this. They should have brought forward a separate proposal to award the contract to the other company,” said Ravi Raja Kondu, a committee member. “The proposal was passed hastily, and we suspect corruption worth more than Rs600 crore.”

BEST is legally obligated to acquire renewable energy to the tune of 8% of the total power required annually.

Ashok Patil, chairman BEST said, “To provide the additional 7MW, the second bidder was added to the existing proposal. The amendment was suggested by committee member and sanctioned by the committee.”

Source: Hindustan Times

About Ritesh Pothan

Ritesh Pothan, is an accomplished speaker and visionary in the Solar Energy space in India. Ritesh is from an Engineering Background with a Master’s Degree in Technology and had spent more than a decade as the Infrastructure Head for a public limited company with the last 9 years dedicated to Solar and Renewable Energy. He also runs the 2 largest India focused renewable energy groups on LinkedIn - Solar - India and Renewables - India
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