Two consortiums of companies from Japan, India, China and France, and an Indian company have submitted proposals for setting up a 1,320-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Khulna, officials said yesterday.
The bidders are consortium of Marubeni Corporation of Japan and Lersen & Toubro Ltd of India; consortium of Harbin Electric International Company Ltd of China, ALSTOM of France and Jiangsu Etern Company Ltd of China; and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), India.
Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company Pvt Ltd (BIFPCL) will pick the final bidder by January next year, an official said.
Marubeni Corporation is one of Japan's top five trading houses. L&T provides integrated concept to commissioning solutions for supercritical thermal power plants.
China-based Harbin Electric International is a leading enterprise in power projects and export of power equipment while ALSTOM holds interests in electricity generation. Jiangsu Etern manufactures and sells cables and other communication products in China.
Bharat Heavy Electricals, owned by the Indian government, is a power plant equipment manufacturer and operates as engineering and manufacturing company.
Although BIFPCL officials are happy for receiving proposals from well-known international companies having good records of implementing power plants, the Rampal project itself is a much-debated issue because of environmental concerns.
The plant, which will be comprised of two 660MW supercritical units, is estimated to burn 4.72 million tonnes of imported coal each year.
Coal-fired thermal power plants belch toxic gases that have negative impacts on wildlife, human health and the forest ecosystem, which prompted many environmentalists in the country to call for scrapping the project.
Local and international environmental groups have raised serious concerns, saying the plant to be built just 14 kilometres upstream of the Sundarbans Reserve Forest, the world's largest remaining contiguous mangrove forest and a Unesco World Heritage Site, would not meet the minimum social and environmental standards.
However, the government as well as the BIFPLC claims that the plant would not harm the Sundarbans as international standards are being followed properly.
The BIFPLC is a joint venture of India's largest coal power company National Thermal Power Corporation and Bangladesh Power Development Board, formed to install the power plant. Each party owns 50 percent share in the project.