Special Correspondent

UDF strengthened KSEB: Congress MLA

  • `Electricity Act aimed at improving efficiency of the power sector'
  • Policies adopted by LDF Government will weaken KSEB: MLA

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The power sector in the State was slipping into `reverse gear' owing to some misplaced priorities of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government, the Opposition alleged in the Assembly on Monday.

    Participating the discussion on the demands for grants for the power sector, Congress MLA V.D. Satheeshan said that the former United Democratic Front (UDF) Government, during the five years of its term in office, had done a creditable job of pulling Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) out from the depths of large revenue deficits to a position where it had started generating working profits.

    When the UDF began its term in the Government, the KSEB's annual revenue deficits stood at the level of Rs.1,286 crore. It came down to Rs.147 crore in the final year of the term, after making due provisions towards statutory profits and depreciation. If the KSEB's operations were subjected to commercial accounting, 2005-06 could be even seen to have generated real profits, he said, reeling out the related data.

    Mr. Satheeshan said that the previous Government had made the KSEB's financial turnaround possible through close attention to the fundamentals of running the power business, professional management, avoiding political interference and providing the right environment for the institution to achieve the performance indicators that would qualify it to place a claim over Central assistance under various power sector reforms programmes.

    According to Mr. Satheeshan, within the short period of five months since the LDF had come to power, there were already indications that matters were being put on the `reverse gear.' He said the Union Government had brought the Electricity Act of 2003 with the express intention of improving the efficiency of the power sector in the country and making it financially viable so that it would attract the investments required for fast growth. The Act mandated measures such as unbundling of the power sector.

    Kerala, over the last five years, had proved that even without introducing such unacceptable reform measures, the power sector could be made efficient. All the arguments Kerala had built up against the market-oriented reforms specified by the Act through the improved efficiency achieved in the KSEB would be weakened by the laxity now on display, he warned. He mentioned the "morale destroying" transfers and shifts in material purchase policies that the LDF Government had brought into effect in KSEB as some of the developments indicating the slip to the `reverse gear.'

    B. Raghavan, N. Rajan, Roshy Augustine, V. Surendran Pillai, Adoor Prakash, K. Ajith, R. Selvaraj and K.K. Jayachandran were among those who participated in the discussion.