Consumer interest top priority in Tata, Adani's stake sale: Gujarat govt

Upholding consumer interests will be the top priority while evaluating stake purchase of independent power producers (IPPs) Tata and Adani's power plants in the state, a senior Gujarat government official said on Friday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Servo Oil, Gas and Fertilizer Meet, Sujit Gulati, additional chief secretary — energy and petrochemicals, Government of Gujarat — said that top lender State Bank of India (SBI) was spearheading the deal talks where both the players have offered 51 per cent stake sale to state utility Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL).

"The valuations are done by expert agencies. SBI itself is an expert lender and it will make the valuation estimation. Our primary focus is that consumer interests need to be protected," Gulati told media persons.

"Simultaneously, the asset shouldn't be wasted and should be put to use. Whoever uses the asset, at the end of the day consumer interest is paramount. We are in the process of ensuring the same," Gulati said while refusing to divulge further details.

Representing a consortium of lenders with a combined exposure of over Rs 40,000 crore to the power plants by the IPPs in Gujarat, SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya had last month met chief minister Vijay Rupani and other top government officials to rally behind the stake sale.

Amidst rising fuel costs, especially due to imported coal, both Adani Power and Tata Power had approached the state government with an offer to offload 51 per cent stake to GUVNL. Recently, Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani had also stated while announcing the first quarter financial results that the company would continue to "engage with various stakeholders for the Mundra plant" even as it looked to identify remedial measures.

IPPs who are using imported coal from regions like Indonesia including Tata Power and Adani Power had received a major blow when the Supreme Court (SC) denied compensatory tariff in April this year.

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