GAIL probes Brahmaputra Cracker power station

Vol 19, PW 13 (10 Mar 16) People & Policy

It's been only a month since Narendra Modi inaugurated the Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer (BCPL) complex at Lepetkata in Assam on February 7.

But the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is already investigating alleged irregularities setting up the captive power station. PETROWATCH learns GAIL's vigilance department forwarded a complaint to its Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) on February 25 alleging that GAIL, Engineers India (EIL), BHEL and BCPL officials conspired to inflate the power station costs to siphon off Rs600cr ($89m).

"The complaint is anonymous," confirms a GAIL vigilance department source. "But it is detailed and can't be ignored." Under scrutiny is why the Rs307cr ($45m) cost of a 33-MW power station outlined in the original Detailed Feasibility Report (DFR) was revised up to Rs440.77cr ($65m) in August 2009? A year later Project Management Consultant EIL revised the power capacity up to 53-MW and the cost escalated further to Rs845cr ($125m), that too excluding taxes, and only covering the cost of equipment - not the land, building, water or other utilities.

Compare this to the Rs5047cr ($750m) cost of NTPC's Jhanor-Gandhar 1300-MW stage-II captive power station. BCPL's captive power station cost Rs15cr/MW ($2m) whereas NTPC's station cost only Rs3.88cr/MW ($575,000).

Both projects came up in the same period in 2010. But it's only now that GAIL has begun investigating after receiving the complaint in May 2015.