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Bidding for global projects — PowerGrid ties up with Netherlands co

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Mr R.P. Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, Power Grid Corporation of India (right), and Mr K. Satyam, Executive Director, at a press conference in Chennai on Tuesday. — Bijoy Ghosh

Chennai , Oct. 12

POWER Grid Corporation of India Ltd has tied up with ECC-Keema of the Netherlands to bid for global transmission and power system improvement projects.

Mr R.P. Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, Power Grid Corporation, said at a press conference on Tuesday that the agreement with ECC-Keema was an "umbrella agreement" that would help PowerGrid bid for international power systems improvement projects. The two companies had jointly bid for a project to strengthen the power system in Uzbekistan.

Mr Singh said the tie up with ECC-Keema was necessary as PowerGrid lost out "narrowly" on some global bids mainly because it did not have international exposure.

PowerGrid would also train 20 of its staff in French and German as a lack of knowledge of foreign languages was also another reason why it was losing out in global bids, according to Mr Singh. Apparently, while participating in global tenders, PowerGrid employees did not know any international language other than English. "In about six months, we will have 20 of our staff conversant in French and German," he said.

Asked if PowerGrid would also make an initial public offering, just as the National Thermal Power Corporation has done, Mr Singh said, "We will go for an IPO in 2005-06. With the kind of business we have, I think we will get a good price." There was no need for an IPO this year as the company did not need the money now, he said. Also, it wanted to wait for the response to the NTPC issue and the tariff order from the central power regulator before deciding its strategy.

Mr Singh elaborated on how the national power grid had helped the southern region, a power deficit region, both in getting power from the eastern region and also in buying power from cheaper sources, which resulted in substantial annual savings to the electricity boards.

PowerGrid was trying to persuade various electricity boards to switch over to high voltage power distribution, as this would result in higher savings in the long run. The corporation was also working with State Governments on rural electrification.

On PowerGrid's telecom business, Mr Singh said that the business would take off in the next three to four years as, by then, the optical fibre network would be completed. The problem was in getting right of way to lay the cables, which PowerGrid was trying to solve by various methods such as erecting tall and thin towers with multi-circuit capacity.

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