Points out inadequate tie-ups with long term sources

Tamil Nadu is facing power shortage due to inadequate tie-ups with long-term sources of power generation and there is no possibility of bridging the huge gap between demand and supply through short or medium term purchases, according to Union Ministry of Power.

The Ministry also referred to the delay in commissioning of 12 power generation projects (six under Central sector, four in State sector and two in private sector) in the State due to reasons such as slow progress of civil works, non-availability of labour and delayed supplies of plant equipment.

K.D. Yadav, Under Secretary, Union Ministry of Power, made these submissions in written instructions given to Central Government Standing Counsel G. Thalaimutharasu in reply to a public interest litigation petition filed by a lawyer B. Stalin in the Madras High Court Bench here. The submissions were placed before the court on Friday.

The PIL petition, filed through counsel W. Peter Ramesh Kumar, accused the Centre of not assisting the State to recover from the power crisis. It sought a direction to allot the proposed generation of 2,000 MW from the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project to Tamil Nadu without any diversions.

Opposing the petitioner's plea, the Union Ministry said: “The generating stations in the Central sector are not set up for the benefit of host State only but for the benefit of supply of power to the constituent States and Union Territories of the region and other regions as well.”

Refuting the petitioner's claim that the Neyveli thermal station produced 26,000 MW of electricity and most of it was transmitted to neighbouring States, the Ministry said the installed capacity of Neyveli complex was 2,740MW of which Tamil Nadu's share amounted to 1,434 MW.

It also pointed out that an expansion unit of 250 MW in Neyveli had already been commissioned and was ready to be put under commercial operation. Another 250 MW unit was under construction and was expected to be commissioned in 2012-13.

According to the Ministry, Tamil Nadu was not the only State to be reeling under power shortage as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala as well as Puducherry were also facing similar problems. Lakshadweep was the only place in the southern region where the supply met the demand.

“Electricity being a concurrent subject, supply and distribution of electricity in a State is the responsibility of the State government concerned or Power Utilities in the State. Government of India supplements the efforts of the State governments by setting up power plants and bulk transmission systems,” it added.

When the matter came up for hearing before a Division Bench comprising Justice P. Jyothimani and Justice S. Vimala on Friday, they adjourned the matter to Tuesday with a direction that top officials of the State government must be present on the day to assist the court in disposing of the case.