Combining political discourse with the factual position of the State’s power scenario, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday assured people that the present problem of electricity shortage would be totally overcome by the end of 2013.

“Load shedding, which has become acute, will gradually be set right and by November end, there will be substantial improvement [in the power supply],” Ms Jayalalithaa said in a televised address shown on Jaya TV in the evening. Several power generation projects were in different stages of execution and from next month, they would start generation one after the other.

Clarifying at the outset that neither she nor her government was responsible for the power crisis, the Chief Minister criticised former Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi for not doing much in respect of capacity addition.

Had the government led by him, which took office in 2006, carried on the projects initiated by her previous regime (2001-2006) with the same level of urgency, many of the projects would have been commissioned during 2006-2011.

Contrasting the performance of her regimes during 1991-1996 and 2001-2006 with that of the DMK government, Ms Jayalailthaa said in the first term, the capacity addition was 1,302 megawatt (MW) and in the second, 2,518 MW. But, a mere 206 MW was added in the last DMK regime during 2006-2011.

Pointing out that the State’s demand had now grown to 12,000 MW, she said a shortfall of 4,000 MW had arisen as a result of lack of maintenance of power stations, administrative inefficiency and fall in production, all of which marked the previous DMK regime.

She particularly attacked Mr Karunanidhi for “his betrayal of people of Tamil Nadu.” Apart from being lax in continuing the execution of her previous regime’s projects, his government had “deliberately reduced” power generation in the State only with a motive to “buying high cost power for selfish reasons,” she alleged. Instead of power purchase on long term basis, short-term purchases were made.

Referring to constraints in transmission corridor, Ms. Jayalalithaa explained that her government, on assumption of office last year, had tied up with Gujarat for 500 MW but only 235 MW was realised due to congestion in the corridor. Even now, Tamil Nadu had entered into pact with other States for 1,100 MW. Again, just 85 MW could be obtained.

Reminding the people that it was the Union government’s responsibility to establish the corridor, she said the Centre, which had provided adequate corridor for northern States, neglected the south, particularly Tamil Nadu. In the last 16 years, the DMK had been in power at the Centre except for one year. “What have its Union Ministers done for Tamil Nadu?” she asked, blaming the Union Ministers belonging to the DMK and Congress for not taking steps in establishing transmission corridor for the State.

Recalling that she, immediately on return to power last year, had pleaded with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for allocating 1,000 MW to the State to tide over the shortage, the Chief Minister wanted to know whether the DMK and Congress nominees in the Union Cabinet took up with the Prime Minister to get power for the State. “What help on the power front has been rendered by the DMK and Congress members, who are saying that the State is plunged in darkness?”

The full responsibility for the present problem of shortage should be borne by the Congress-led Union government and the previous DMK regime, she emphasised.

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