The world today is confronted with energy crisis like a spider caught in its own web, contemplating to rely on renewable sources of power. Our country is no exception to it. In this backdrop, Odisha is emerging as a power-surplus State with more thrust on renewable energy. The Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) is taking a pioneering role for generating on renewable energy. OHPC’s Director Pravakar Mohanty along with its team is in readiness to take over the capital expenditure proposals which are on the anvil. After working for over three decades as the Head of Finance and Corporate Planning in the Industrial Development Corporation of Odisha Ltd (IDCOL), he is now Director of Finance of the OHPC. A resourceful management teacher, a frontline speaker in various management forums, Mohanty is a familiar name in academic circles. A postgraduate in Commerce from the Utkal University with a degree in Law, he is a fellow member of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India. He was the first-ever Odia cost accountant to become national president of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India for 2005-06.
In an interview to The Pioneer, Mohanty spoke to Sugyan Choudhury on the many issues concerning the OHPC relating to the management of renewable energy source.
You have reached top positions in finance and corporate planning under the Odiha Government. Would you share some of your experiences in the offices you held?
My experience of working in the IDCOL covering cost management, project finance, accounts and taxation matters, financial management, modernisation-cum-expansion of projects has helped me immensely in my career. I really enjoyed working in the IDCOL which is not only the large manufacturing conglomerate but also one of the best professionally-managed State PSUs. The rich experience and exposure has helped me get selected in another manufacturing giant steel company, the Neelachal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) in 2014.
Can you share some of your unique finance managerial experiences and situations that you have overcome?
I have worked in a team at all places. Over the years, the IDCOL had accumulated huge borrowings from banks/FIs and due to long market depression; it was pushed to red resulting threats from the lenders. Taking up the matter with different authorities like BIFR, AAIFR, DRT for restructuring of the units and settling the entire outstanding of the lenders under the OTS route will remain as my most unique experience in the IDCOL. For the NINL, organising significant support from the Odisha Government by way of short-term loan and equity (from OMC), suppliers credit for iron ore from OMC and implementing 5-25 structuring scheme of RBI for the outstanding project loan of NINL will remain historic for me as well as for the NINL.
How do you find your present assignment?
As the Director, Finance of OHPC, my responsibilities are immense and challenging. The OHPC is a Gold-rated State PSU and its contribution in power generation is quite significant. I am quite hopeful that the OHPC will emerge as one of the best hydropower generating organisation in the country.
How do you see the OHPC functioning in the post-power sector reforms era?
The OHPC has been functioning very smoothly since its inception in 1996. The responsibility of generation of hydropower after meeting the challenges of flood control, drinking water, irrigation requirement is really challenging with unblocking of all the hydro generating stations from OSEB and DOWR, The OHPC has a capacity of generating about 2,000 MW from all six generating stations.
What steps are there on your agenda for upgradation and modernisation of old power stations?
The OHPC has taken timely steps for renovation and modernisation of its power plants in a phased manner. Besides, regular capital repairing works continue for other plants. Continuous efforts are made for RMU (renovation, modernisation and upgradation) of the power plants for their sustainability.
How do you rate the future of hydropower in Odisha?
Hydropower, being a cheap source of energy, needs due focus on its capacity addition. The Department of Energy (DoE) in close coordination with the Department of Water Resources (DoWR) is working for sustainable hydropower generation. A lot of small hydropower plants are under consideration. In some cases, DPRs have been finalised, and in other cases PFRs are being prepared. The OHPC has a good number of professionals in its fold and it looks forward for a rapid growth in the future.
Opposition leaders are critical of power sector reforms. What is your considered opinion in this regard?
This observation is far from true. Any plan takes time for its success. It is a commendable step of the Odisha Government for visualising supply of quality power on a continuous basis at affordable price way back two decades ago as the first State Government in this regard. Although it is taking some time, success seems to be not that far. Unbundling OSEB into OPTCL, GRIDCO, OHPC and DIS and making them successful in operation is not a small task. Odisha may be the first State to achieve the target of supplying power to each family in the next 2-3 years.
OHPC is also engaged in OCPL (a coal company) and in OTPCL (a thermal power company). How do you foresee the functioning of the same in the future?
The Odisha Coal and Power Ltd (OPCL) was created as a Joint Venture Company between OPGC and OHPC with 51 per cent and 49 per cent stakes, respectively. The basic objective of this company is to supply coal to OPGC to meet its requirement for the expansion projects. The company’s progress is well within the time and plan. Regarding thermal power, OHPC and OMC have formed a separate company, the Odisha Thermal Power Company Ltd (OTPCL), in equal sharing basis to initially produce 2,400 MW (3×800 MW) from three plants. Land acquisition is in progress. Allotment of coal block is awaited. The State Government is regularly pursuing the matter with the Central Government for a early allotment of the coal block.
The OHPC has also been assigned the responsibility of solar energy generation. How do you envisage the future of such a mission to cater to the needs of the State?
The OHPC has a 100 per cent subsidiary company, the Green Energy Development Corporation of Odisha Ltd (GEDCOL) which works as the State nodal agency for a solar grid. It has already installed a 20-MW solar power plant in Manmunda in Boudh district. In addition, the GEDCOL is also in the process of setting up rooftop power projects initially in the twin city of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar and has already identified about 200 buildings for the purpose. Further, the GEDCOL is developing solar parks for 1,000 MW power plants in a clustered manner of 100-200 MW capacity per park/project. A DPR has already been sent to the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for approval.
What about small hydro projects by OHPC?
DPRs have been prepared for two projects in Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar. Pre-feasibility reports for about 13 projects with capacity of about 170 MW have been prepared and under consideration for further steps.
How is the financial position of OHPC and its readiness to take over the capital expenditure proposals?
The OHPC is a profit-making company at present. It has been paying dividend to the Government since last several years. It has repaid its outstanding dues to the banks/FIs. The company is in discussions with some banks/FIs for further borrowings to meet the need of the capital works requirements. There may not be any problem for availing additional borrowings for the projects based on the OHPC’s existing strength.