Samiti claims it is done at a high price

The Janajagriti Samiti, Nandikur, has said that that the State Government had been purchasing power from Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. (UPCL) without fixing the unit price and without an approved Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) ratified by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) as per the applicable laws.

The samiti had been on the forefront of the agitation against setting up coal-based thermal plant for nearly two decades.

In a release here on Wednesday, samiti's executive president Balakrishna Shetty said the information received by the samiti from the regulatory authorities such as the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), New Delhi; the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), Bangalore, revealed that neither was the tariff approved by the CERC nor did the KERC ratify the Power Purchase Agreement.

The purchase of power obviously was made illegally at a high price by the Power Corporation of Karnataka Limited and Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (KPTCL). The project had been approved as the mega-power project and qualified for various benefits such as customs duty exemption and certain tax holidays. As the project was to supply power to more than one State, the tariff was required to be decided by the CERC.

The CERC had granted in-principle approval of the capital cost at Rs. 4,299.12 crore in October 2006 based on the equipment supply by BHEL. The UPCL later terminated the agreement with BHEL.

In the context of the district-in-charge Minister V.S. Acharya' s statement, which appeared in a section of the press on October 18 last year, that the State had released Rs. 583 crore to the company, the basis of such release of funds became highly questionable. While the State was virtually being blackmailed in the name of power shortage, large-scale misappropriation of State funds on account of this project could not be ruled out.

The samiti urged that Governor H.R. Bhardwaj and the judiciary should take up the matter suo mottu to get to the bottom of the issue and punish the guilty, the release added.

To be sorted out

The vice-president (Corporate Affairs) of Udupi Power Corporation Ltd K. Kishore Alva told The Hindu that the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) issue will be sorted soon. Of the five electricity supply companies (ESCOMs), barring the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company, payments from the other four ESCOMS were pending for four to five months to the tune of approximately Rs. 250 crore, he said.