Welspun wins $225 million solar project in Madhya Pradesh

The project will cost about $225 million and will be set up on barren tract of land in Mandsaur and Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh in 18 months

New Delhi: Welspun Group, one of the country's largest solar power developer, has won a 125 MW solar photovoltaic project in Madhya Pradesh, a top company official said on Wednesday, reports PTI.

"We bid Rs8.05 per unit to win the 125 megawatts (MW) out of 200 MW that was auctioned by the Madhya Pradesh government," Welspun Energy Ltd Managing Director Vineet Mittal said.
 
After the formal award of the project, Welspun Solar Madhya Pradesh Pvt Ltd will put up one solar photovoltaic project of 100 MW and another of 25 MW capacity.

Mr Mittal said the project will cost about $225 million and will be set up on barren tract of land in Mandsaur and Neemuch district of Madhya Pradesh in 18 months.

The project would be funded in 75:25 debt-equity ratio, he said adding typically, a solar power project costs Rs9-10 crore per MW. "Solar energy will become a game-changer and I expect it will reach grid parity by 2015," Mittal said.

Grid parity means solar power tariff equalling that of thermal power. Madhya Pradesh conducted the auction through 'reverse bidding' process under which it would award projects to those who offer to sell power at the best (least) rates.

It received bids for 430 MW for its tender for 200 MW, from 12 developers like Azure (which submitted a bid for 5 MW), BGR Energy (10 MW), Essel Infra Properties (30 MW) and IL&FS (50 MW).

Mumbai-based Alpha Infraprop Pvt Ltd submitted the lowest bid of Rs7,900 per megawatt-hour, or Rs7.9 per unit, for 20 MW of capacity. This is about 13% lower than the global average for a photovoltaic project using crystalline panels.

Simplex Infrastructure Ltd and Acme Tele Power Ltd (ATPL) followed with bids of Rs9.59 per unit and Rs12.45 a unit.

Mr Mittal said Welspun Energy plans to add about 250 MW in the new and renewable energy projects during current fiscal. By 2015-16, it is targetting a portfolio of 1,750 MW, 60% of which will be wind energy and remaining 40% solar power projects.

It currently operates 30 MW of solar power plants in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and recently bagged a 50 MW solar power project in Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) bidding.

The company plans to set up solar photovoltaic farms with a total capacity of 100 MW in Andhra Pradesh and has signed agreement to set up 500 MW of wind power projects in the state.

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Air India begins international operations; pilots want government to initiate talks

As the stir by the pilots entered the ninth day, the Airlines curtailed and clubbed many of its flights to the US and Europe to stabilise international operations

New Delhi: In an attempt to restore normalcy, Air India on Wednesday began international operations to the US and Europe as part of its contingency plan even as striking pilots asked the government to initiate preliminary talks, reports PTI.

As the stir by the pilots entered the ninth day, the Airlines curtailed and clubbed many of its flights to the US and Europe to stabilise international operations.

"We have put in force our contingency plan and started operating our international flights, which were affected for the past eight days causing great inconvenience to our customers. Slowly, we hope that our operations would normalise," said an Air India official.

The national carrier operated Delhi-Paris-New York (JFK) and Delhi-Frankfurt-Chicago flight early this morning while it would be operating Delhi-Shanghai and Delhi-London as per schedule.

"We have merged Mumbai-London and Mumbai-Shanghai flights with the Delhi-London and Delhi-Shanghai flights. We are operating these flights with Boeing 777 ER aircraft so we won't have problem accommodating the passengers," the official said, adding this will bring relief to many of our passengers who were anxious about their flights status.

Most of our passengers are those who have booked tickets months ago for their journey, he said, adding if situation permits then the airline may open its bookings for ultra-long flights, which have been suspended till tomorrow.

"We have deployed Airbus 320 aircraft for our short haul flights to Bangkok, Singapore and other destinations," he said.

In another development, the striking Air India pilots asked the government to at least initiate preliminary talks. "The government should at least being preliminary talks. We are ready for talks but they should formally invite us for talks to resolve the issue," Jitendra Awhad, chief of Indian Pilots Guild told PTI in Mumbai.

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'Wait-listed Tatkal passengers to get preference over others'

If an extra coach is added to a particular train, then preference would be given to wait-listed Tatkal ticket holders over other wait-listed passengers

New Delhi: Railways decided to give preference to wait-listed passengers under the Tatkal ticket scheme over other passengers while clearing the waiting list in the event of addition of extra coaches to the train, reports PTI.

To clear the extra rush of passengers, Railways have introduced many summer specials as well as resorted to adding extra coaches in trains.

"If an extra coach is added to a particular train, then preference would be given to wait-listed Tatkal ticket holders. After that other class wait-listed passengers will be adjusted in the coach," a senior Railway Ministry official said.

Passengers shell out more to purchase tickets under the Tatkal scheme.

In November last year, Railways had reduced the advance reservation period of Tatkal tickets from two days to one day (24 hours).

For example, if a train is to depart from the originating station on second day of the month then the Tatkal quota for that particular train will open at 08.00 hours of the first day of the month.

As per the Tatkal scheme, a maximum of four passengers can be booked per PNR for Tatkal tickets and no refund will be granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal tickets except in exceptional circumstances.

No duplicate tickets will be issued except only in exceptional cases on payment of full fare, including Tatkal charges.

Tatkal tickets shall be issued only on production of prescribed photo identity card. For this purpose, a self attested photo copy of the proof of identity of any one passenger is required to be attached to the requisition slip.

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