Heavy investments in power projects fail to yield result

Turning the heat on the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party coalition, the Bharatiya Janata Party has now alleged a massive scam in Maharashtra’s power sector.

BJP Leader Vinod Tawde on Tuesday alleged that since 2004, the State government spent Rs. 19,672 crore on various power generation projects, yet not even 1 MW power capacity had been created in Maharashtra.

The Energy portfolio is currently held by Deputy Chief Minister and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar.

“All promises of the government eliminating load-shedding by 2012 have proven to be hollow. If anything, load-shedding has only increased since 2012. The Chief Minister [Prithviraj Chavan] must enquire how this Rs. 20,000 crore had disappeared,” said Mr. Tawde, speaking to reporters here.

The thermal power plants at Parli, Paras, Khaparkheda, Bhusawal, Chandrapur and Koradi were jointly expected to generate 5,730 MW of electricity but failed to do that.

The total production of these power plants declined from 42,929 million units (MU) in 2004-05 to 39,048 MU in 2012-13.

Likening the situation to the Irrigation scam in the State’s Water Resources Department, Mr. Tawde alleged that power generation had not increased owing to corruption and inefficiency of the MahaGenco, the State’s power generation company.

This entailed purchasing power from private companies at higher tariff rates of Rs. 4 to Rs. 4.50 per unit, as opposed to MahaGenco’s rate of Rs. 3.50 per unit.

In the past one year, MahaGenco had to purchase Rs. 4,500 crore worth electricity from private sector to tide over the shortage of power.

As a direct consequence, consumers had to face an additional burden of Rs. 1,000 crore, with companies hiking electricity rates no less than12 times in that period.