Though the power cuts are in force, BHEL's ancillary units spread over Tiruchi, Pudukottai and Thanjavur districts have a cause for relief.

Thanks to the constructive gesture of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO), the power cuts are enforced between 6.00 a.m. and 9.00 a.m. for the industrial estates in Tiruverumbur, Thuvakkudi, Ariyamangalam and Valavandankottai in Tiruchi district; Mathur and Mandaiyur in Pudukottai district; and Pudukudi in Thanjavur district.

Since the industrial units start their operations only after 9.00 a.m., they are able to go about their activities without any obstruction for two complete shifts. “We are grateful to the TANGEDCO authorities for their gesture. Our repeated requests have come to fruition,” Rajappa Rajkumar, President, BHEL Small Industries' Association, said.

The hundreds of units are not only able to maximise productivity, the cost of operations has also reduced for a good number of them who were pushed into a situation of using diesel gen sets to offset the power shortage. “When the expenditure on accounts of investment and fuel are put together, the cost of production of one unit of electricity used to work out to Rs. 17. The advantageous power cut timings helps us immensely,” Mr. Rajkumar said.

About 25 ancillary units had installed up to 125 kva gen sets under an exclusive scheme evolved for their requirement by the Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC). Under the scheme, generator subsidy was made available for the BHELSIA units, to promote captive power generation. Twenty five per cent of the cost of the generator set subject to a maximum subsidy limit of Rs. 1.5 lakh was provided to the BHELSIA units.

The BHELSIA has been requesting the State Government to exempt its units from sales tax on power generated from diesel gen sets.

In view of the huge costs involved in purchasing power from other States to offset the shortage, the association has requested the State Government can explore the mutually beneficial option of providing diesel subsidy to the extent of 40 to 50 per cent of the generation cost.