A lethal blow

Published: Sunday 15 April 2001

The Maheshwar hydroelectric project on Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh has suffered another setback. The Portuguese government has refused to become a guarantor for a loan of Rs 200 crore being given to the project. The refusal means that Asia Brown Boveri (abb), a multinational company, will not be able to supply hydro-mechanical equipment to the project. It also implies that abb 's six per cent investment will not come through.

Recently, Ogden, a us power company, that was suppose to give 49 per cent of the project's equity also backed out. In total, almost 71 per cent of the project equities have been withdrawn till now. In another important development, us -based Harza International that was responsible for monitoring and coordination of the civil works for the dam also withdrew. Harza's withdrawal has put the project at technical risk and jeopardised the possibility of any Indian financial institutions participating in the project. The Maheshwar project will submerge or adversely affect 50,000 people in 61 villages. The Narmada Bachao Andolan has recently asked the state government to issue a white paper on the project and disclose details of power tariffs.

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