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New Delhi, Sept. 29

THE Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has cleared the revised completion cost of Rs 4,124 crore for the ongoing 1,020 MW Tala hydel project in Bhutan that would supply electricity to India's Eastern Grid.

The estimated cost of the project in 2001 was Rs 3,080 crore.

The approval for the project, to be commissioned in June 2006, has been granted on terms and conditions agreed to by the Indian and Bhutanese Governments, the Union Finance Minister, Mr P Chidambaram, told a press conference after the CCEA meeting on Thursday.

Of the total project cost, Rs 2,474 crore would be given as grant while Rs 1,649.60 crore would come in the form of loan at an interest rate of 9 per cent, he said. The loan would be repayable in 12 equal annual instalments, the first payment commencing from the date of the project's commercial operation.

"The project will closely integrate the economy of Bhutan with that of India and further strengthen Indo-Bhutan cooperation in the development of water resources in Bhutan," the Minister said.

The Tala project would provide approximately 1,020 MW peaking power to the Eastern Grid and provide 3,962 million units of electricity annually in 90 per cent dependable year and 4,865 million units in an average year, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 30, 2005)
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