Santosh Patnaik

Managements of units functioning in the SEZ are crying hoarse

VISAKHAPATNAM: The imposition of power holiday has dealt a severe blow to the industries and it is feared that the decision will send wrong signals to the investors on the government's so-called commitment to ensure uninterrupted supply of ‘quality' power.

Managements of units functioning in the Special Economic Zones are crying hoarse about the present situation and blame the authorities for not having a foresight. “If the situation is so much precarious in March, we can't even imagine what would be our plight in April and May,” wondered a senior executive of a private sector company.

The compulsory power holiday – three days a month – and restriction on usage of power during peak hours in the evenings has hit hard steel, cement, ferroalloys, sponge iron, textile and capital goods manufacturing units.

“Any power interruption will cause a loss of at least Rs.10 lakhs for a sponge iron factory. How could units pay advance tax to income tax, central excise, sales tax and other departments when power cuts are imposed on industries during March,” asked K.V. Bhaskar, Executive Director of Steel Exchange India Limited.

Asked to comment on the power situation, Mr. Bhaskar who is former CII Chairman of Visakhapatnam Zone, said efforts should be made to buy enough power from outside till the State turned self-sufficient.

He also wanted proper planning and austerity measures on usage of AC and illumination at public places like parks, beach road and flyovers by installing electronic timers and shift to the usage of LED lights to save power.

The software industry, which was pinning hopes on cashing in Telangana agitation and rolling out a red carpet to more investors to Visakhapatnam is now not much hopeful on the city's forward march due to the power situation.

“With 100 per cent revenue realisation and 92 per cent sale of power purchased and 20 per cent gross profit of Rs. 500 crore and a net profit of Rs. 160 crore the previous year, the EPDCL is not able to buy power and supply to industries even though they are earning huge profits,” pointed out Naresh Kumar, CEO of Symbiosys Technologies.

Mooting real autonomy to the DISCOMS, he wondered why EPDCL should impose power supply restriction like other DISCOMS when it had full revenue realisation and less transmission losses and asked the government to allow EPDCL to buy power from other States or allow industries to buy power on their own and use transmission lines by paying user charges.

“If this proposal is accepted, we are ready to bear the social cost towards supply of free power to the farm sector,” he revealed.

Mr. Naresh Kumar, member of Visakhapatnam IT Association, wondered what was the need for EPDCL to pay Rs.130 crore as finance charges for interest ( last year balance sheet) on short-term borrowing for purchase of power when they were collecting 100 per cent bills in time.