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Disinvestment Draws Opposition Ire

Bhubaneswar: The State Government’s move to disinvest 49 per cent of the shareholding of the state-owned Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), has invited ire from Opposition BJP and Congress.

The state government, which owns 100 per cent of the share, has invited Expression of Interest (EOI) from international bidders for purchasing 49 per cent of the shareholding of the company.  Interested bidders are asked to submit their EOI on or before February 28, 2023.

Strongly opposing the move, senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo said, “When the State Government claims that they are in a very strong finance condition, planning to make a bigger budget and spending crores of rupees in beautification projects, what is the need to sell the profit making OPGC.”

The State Government has also privatised many of the power entities when electricity has become a basic need of people now. It is very unfortunate that the Government is privatising the OPGC, he said.

Similarly, BJP MLA Mukesh Mahaling alleged that the BJD Government has made up its mind to sell all public entities to collect huge amounts of chanda from private companies for the upcoming election.

OPGC was incorporated in 1984 with the objective of establishing, operating and maintaining thermal generating stations and in 1996-97 it started generating power.

The State Government sold 49 per cent share of the company to AES Corporation Ltd, a USA-based company. In 2020, AES sold all its shares to the State Government for around Rs 1,000 crore. While the company was running on losses in 2020 it has made a profit this year.

OPGC operates thermal power plants of 1740MW capacity at Banarpal, Jharsuguda. The phase-1 unit (2×210 MW) has been running successfully for the last more than 25 years. The phase-II (2x660MW)was commissioned in 2019.

The phase-I unit has coal linkage from the mines of Mahanadi Coal Field, the phase-II units are sourcing coal from the Manoharpur coal line of Odisha Coal & Power Limited, a subsidiary of OPGC through a dedicated Merry Go Round system.

The Corporation is contemplating to expand its present capacity through the implementation of Phase III by installing Unit 5 and 6 having 660 MW capacity each.