Troubled 1967 Mw Ratnagiri Gas & Power fears being tagged defaulter - RGPPL had borrowed Rs 85 bn from a consortium of banks
The lingering troubles at the debt-laden, fuel-starved Ratnagiri Gas & Power (RGPPL) are likely to worsen with the possibility of its lenders declaring the 1,967-MW plant a defaulter. RGPPL has borrowed around Rs. 8,500 crore from a consortium of lenders including SBI, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank and Canara Bank among others, and has to pay Rs. 108 crore every month towards servicing the debt. “We have been making representations to the government to bail out the company, but there has been no response so far. We don’t have the money to service the debt. We are expected to pay our dues by this month-end and if we fail, our lenders may declare the project as non-performing asset (NPA),” an RGPPL source said.
It may be recalled that in January this year, the state-run NTPC, which holds 32.86 per cent stake in the project, had communicated to the Union power ministry that electricity generated from the Dabhol plant be made a part of the Telangana package, to help RGPPL to tide over its crisis. The lenders could not be reached immediately for comments. The other stakeholders in RGPPL are GAIL, which also owns 32.86 per cent in the utility, the Maharashtra government with a 17.41 per cent stake, and state—run banks and financial institutions. “There was a proposal with the UPA government, but no action has been taken till now,” the source said.
On March 28, state utility Mahavitaran had bailed out Dabhol by paying it Rs. 151 crore, which the latter used for making part re-payment to its lenders in April. “We have been saying that Mahavitaran owes us over Rs. 1,450 crore which includes power and fixed cost charges. We have to pay Rs. 108 crore per month for servicing our loan. But if the state defaults payment, the project could become an NPA as we will not be able to honour the payments. We fear Dabhol will now be declared NPA,” the official said. Mahavitaran, on the other hand, has been maintaining that it does not owe RGPPL anything.
“There is a dispute over some amount, but we do not owe them anything as we are not buying power from RGPPL,” a Mahavitaran source said. To run the project at full capacity, the company needs 8.5 mmscmd gas, of which 7.6 mmscmd should come from Reliance while the remaining from ONGC through GAIL. The plant has, however, shut operations several times for want of gas. “All our machines are in working condition and we can generate the entire capacity if we get the fuel. But at this moment, the future of this project is dark,” RGPPL official added.