BHEL counters NLC charges on project delays

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on May 29, 2011

Public sector power equipment manufacturer, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, which was accused recently by Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd for the delays in the completion of some of the NLC's projects, has responded to the charge saying that blame cannot be put at BHEL's doorstep.

NLC's 2x125 MW projects at Barsingsar, Rajasthan, was ‘dedicated to the nation' a year ago, but is yet to produce any electricity. On Friday, the Chairman and Managing Director of NLC, Mr A.R. Ansari, spoke of problems in the design of BHEL's boilers.

Asked about this, a senior official of BHEL first said the company would not join the issue as it did not want to “offend its valued customers”, but nevertheless said that BHEL could not be blamed.

The quality of lignite produced from NLC's mines was so sharply at variance with the samples on which the boiler was designed. The problem is peculiar to the lignite produced from that mine and as such required specific solution. BHEL has since found a solution — mix the fuel with a type of sand to prevent sintering of the fuel — but NLC has some “reservations” over this.

Against this backdrop, BHEL has offered to run the plant for 15 days as demonstration and then hand it over to NLC, the official said.

BHEL could have easily backed out of the project citing the variance between the sample and actual fuel, the official said. “Any other company in our position would have run away,” he said, pointing out that BHEL strove to finding a solution for the customer.

Similarly, in the 1,000 MW project at Tuticorin, BHEL again has been unduly blamed for the delay he said, noting that there were huge delays in handing over the land for the onsite fabrication works. This has put the project behind schedule by over six months, but still BHEL has worked out a “make up plan” to reduce the ultimate time overrun, he said.

As regards the 2 x 250 MW CFBC project at Neyveli, where BHEL has been blamed for the 28-month time overrun, the equipment major has said that 8 of those months were due to some “techno-commercial issues to be jointly resolved between BHEL, Lentjes—the technology supplier and NLC.”

The rest of the delays were due to other reasons such as unpredicted rains that resulted in slushing of the area, law and order issues that hindered the work of the boiler erection contractor and some part of the work that lay in NLC's scope.

Published on May 29, 2011

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