The All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) spokesman and Kerala Electricity Workers Federation leader, M. Sukumara Pillai, has strongly condemned the reported statement made by the Union Minister of State for Power, P. Venugopal, opposing supply of more power from the Central pool to Kerala to tide over the ongoing power crisis.
In a statement issued here on Wednesday, Mr Pillai alleged it was disheartening to hear Mr Venugopal speaking in an anti-Kerala tone towards the grave electricity needs of the State, especially at this juncture of alarming power crisis. Mr Venugopal who knew well about Kerala’s power crisis and various issues involved in the State’s power sector should have taken necessary initiative in lending a helping hand to the State to tide over the ongoing crisis, he added.
According to Mr Pillai, the people of Kerala is soon to feel the shock of load shedding, allegedly owing to poor management of the State’s unique power situation and lack of initiative in effectively tapping its hydro-electric potential by implementing small and medium projects.
He alleged that the Union Ministers from Kerala, A.K. Antony, Vayalar Ravi, K.V. Thomas and Venugopal, have miserably failed in lending a helping hand to the State Government for obtaining the necessary clearance from the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment for implementing various small hydro-electric projects in the State in a time-bound manner.
Mr Pillai said small hydro-electric projects and run-off the river schemes like the proposed Achenkovil-Kallar project were the need of the hour for Kerala, considering the typical socio-geographical conditions of the State.
Mr Pillai said the Kerala State Electricity Board has carried out the environment impact assessment of the Achenkovil project as well as public hearing on the same two years ago and the project was awaiting clearance from the Union Ministry of Forests ad Environment.
Instead of blaming blindly the State for not producing any additional power since the past several years, Mr Venugopal who knew well about the typical topographical and socio-environmental issues of the State that seldom permits easy implementation of major hydel projects should have strived for getting Central clearance for various run-off the river schemes pending before the Union Ministry, the AITUC leader added.
Mr Pillai further called upon the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy and the Electricity Minister, Aryadan Mohammed, not to go for any power tariff hike or load shedding in a hurry.