Pawarآ’s support will boost Maroli

Vol 4, PW 1 (16 Feb 00) People & Policy

No doubt prospects for Maroli have been considerably enhanced with Sharad Pawar supporting the project.

Pawar is generally regarded as one of the most sophisticated, and ambitious political operators in India. A former prime ministerial hopeful, his Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) broke away from the Congress party of Sonia Gandhi in May last year following his opposition to Ms Gandhi (an Italian) running for Prime Minister.

In October last year, Pawar returned to government in Maharashtra after a spell in the political wilderness and today his supporters make up a significant chunk of the present Congress-led coalition of Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. Crucially, the present energy minister of Maharashtra, the robust Dr.

Padamsinh Patil is a staunch Pawar loyalist and belongs to the NCP. Critics describe Maroli - one of four ports on the Gujarat coast scheduled to receive LNG - as the project least likely to succeed, mainly because of vociferous environmental opposition to its development.

With Pawars involvement, this analysis might need drastic revision. Contacted by Petrowatch, NATELCO confirms that it is keen to acquire BSES as a customer for its LNG.

I am sure BSES would prefer to buy from a location which is just 20 km away instead of from a location 200km away, NATELCO tells Petrowatch, The cost of pipelines and associated infrastructure would be much cheaper for them. Indeed it might.

BSES arguably Indias most efficient power utility - proposes to build a 500-MW power plant at Dahanu, which according to NATELCO, makes it a logical customer