Given the acute shortage of domestic natural gas in the country, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Power on Monday told the Supreme Court that it was willing to surrender around 1,000 acres of land acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government for its now-abandoned 7,480 MW gas-based Dadri power project in Ghaziabad district of the state.
Thus, Reliance Power (formerly known as Reliance Energy Generation) wants to withdraw its appeal challenging the Allahabad High Court’s 2009 verdict that had in effect cancelled the acquisition of 2,500 acres of agricultural land for the group’s Rs 25,000-crore power project.
Reliance submitted that “10 years after the project was originally envisioned, the current situation is that there is acute shortage of domestic natural gas supply and therefore, it is virtually impossible to obtain/secure fresh allotment of domestic natural gas required to run the plant”.
A bench headed by Justice TS Thakur posted the Relaince's fresh application for hearing next week.
The company also cited power minister Piyush Goyal's statement in the Lok Sabha that the government cannot guarantee availability of gas for the new projects.
The much-hyped project also lost its sheen pursuant to the apex court rejecting Anil Ambani's demand for 28 million standard cu. m per day of gas from RIL’s Krishna-Godavari D6 fields for 17 years at a rate 44% lower than the government-mandated price, rooting its claims in a 2005 family demerger pact between the brothers.
Reliance Power Ltd had in June 2004 signed a contract with the Uttar Pradesh government for setting up the power project. While the then Mulayam Singh government had acquired 903.449 hectares in February 2004, the acquisition was challenged by the farmers before the Allahabad High Court, which in 2009 cancelled the allotment of the land and directed the district authorities to return the same to the owners.
Aggrieved by the HC order, the Anil Ambani group company had approached the Supreme Court saying that the project would be completed on schedule.