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Committee paints grim scenario of power situation

Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha's Standing Committee on Energy has painted a grim scenario of the power situation in the country and warned that it could well miss by a wide margin the 11 {+t} {+h} Plan target of adding 78,000 MW of power by 2012 if the situation continues.

In its latest report tabled in Parliament, the committee, headed by Mulayam Singh, also expressed serious concern over the lack of progress in arranging for the requisite funds to take up power projects in the public sector. It criticised the Power and Finance Ministries for failure on this front.

The report states that against the Centre's target, only 30,000 MW additional power has been achieved till June 2010. The committee stated that nearly Rs. 10.5 lakh crore would be required for implementing all the projects from 2007 to 2012, but with just two years to go, nobody seemed to know where this money would come from. “There is a yawning deficit of more than Rs. 4 lakh crore funding. As of now, the situation is so intricate that even if the resources are arranged, it would be impossible to achieve the physical targets of the 11th Plan as there is considerable gestation period in completing power projects,” the panel warned.

As for the transmission and distribution network for evacuating this power, it was felt that the Rs. 4.5 lakh crore required for the purpose had still not been arranged, as this was mostly to be done at the State government level. “Without the overhauling of the T&D system, India will continue to hold on to its record of losing nearly 30-40 per cent of its power during transmission from the generating station to the end consumer,” it said.

Out of the Rs. 4 lakh crore shortfall, Rs. 2.5 lakh crore is in the area of distribution and transmission. The remaining is on the power generation side, including nearly Rs. 1 lakh crore by private companies.

The panel put most of the blame for the lack of funds on the Finance Ministry which, in its opinion, failed to create suitable conditions for fund-raising by the States and the private sector.

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