According to reports, in a move which will encourage medium scale industries in backward regions of Vidarbha, the Maharashtra cabinet today approved the Rs 2,731-crore BHEL project in Bhandara district to produce solar photo voltaic cells providing employment to 3,000 people.
The company will produce 240 mw solar photo voltaic cells and 100 mw photo voltaic modules at its plant in Sakoli in Bhandara district.
This will be the Central government’s first project in Vidarbha and it can avail subsidies from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF).
MIDC has provided 480 acre land to BHEL for the project.
The BHEL proposal, as a “mega project” was first sanctioned in January 2012 by the high-powered committee comprising chief secretary, ACS (planning) and ACS (Finance) , on condition that it will utilise the capital expenditure in five years, repay 20 per cent of the VAT in 15 years, electricity duty waiver for 15 years and complete stamp duty waiver.
Union Minister for Heavy industries Praful Patel, who is also the MP from Bhandara, wrote to the state government that more perks were necessary to make the project financially viable.
However, the high-powered committee refused to grant any more concessions.
In the meantime, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar asked the high powered committee to place the proposal before the Cabinet.
In August 2013, BHEL increased its project cost from Rs 2,000 crore to Rs 2,450 crore and sought more concessions and also promised more employment opportunities.
The Cabinet sub committee proposed electricity concessions of Rs 5.61 per unit, a product purchase guarantee and equity share capital of Rs 680 crore to the project.
However, the high powered committee on May three refused the concession of equity share but said the government will given only financial assistance from the national clean energy fund.