14-hour power cut coupled with high cost of diesel takes a toll
Unable to cope up with 14 hours of power cut a day and high cost of diesel to run generator sets, BHEL Small and Medium Industries’ Association (BHELSIA) has kept its options open on exploring alternative sources for power generation.
The association intends to determine feasibility for establishing a 10 MW captive unit, or see if solar power generation will serve their requirement. For, at the prevailing cost of diesel, the units are unable to survive by running generator sets for backup power. The ancillaries are prepared to invest on generator sets, but are unable to meet the recurring cost towards fuel. However, the proposal for establishment of captive power plant will be pursued only in the long run.
In the immediate future, the association will look for sufficient load from Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, M. Srinivasan, the newly elected president of BHELSIA told presspersons on Thursday.
Due to the irregularity in power supply, the industries are able to work only to 30 per cent of their capacities and find themselves in a compulsive situation of laying off excess workforce.
But there will be consequences since it will not be easy to get back the eased out manpower when the power situation improves, Mr. Srinivasan apprehended.
The predicament that the ancillaries find themselves in is due to reasons such as stagnation in orders caused by the slowing down of utilities owing to problems in coal linkage, environmental clearances, and high cost of bank loans. It was not because of efficiency of the production units.
At a critical juncture wherein units were getting weakened due to the financial pressure, banks must step in with their support in the forms of interest and principal moratorium for one year, increasing repayment period, and providing working capital term loans. The non performing asset (NPA) definition of three months has to be immediately changed to suit the changed industrial climate.
Else, many industries would be classified as NPA, impacting their credit history and adversely affecting their revival prospects. While huge loans forwarded to big corporates are restructured in tough situations, SMEs that account for 45 per cent of employment are funded only with collaterals.
In Tiruchi region, almost 30,000 families are dependent on ancillary units, and if the sector fails, the industrial environment and skill sets painfully built by decades of hard work and sacrifice will wither away. For fructification of power projects in Tamil Nadu, uninterrupted power supply for the BHEL’s ancillaries in and around Tiruchi was a vital requirement, Mr. Srinivasan emphasised.
New office bearers
Others in the new team for 2012-14 constituted S. Rengarajan and A.R. Naveenraj, vice presidents; R. Maheswaran, secretary; S. Senthil Kumar, treasurer; S. Subramaniam, joint secretary; and M. Sivakumar, S. Punniamoorthy, S. Jayakumar, S. Ganeshkumar and K. Thulasiram, executive committee members.