Atiq Khan

To seek more electricity from the discretionary quota of Northern Grid for power-starved State

UP share is presently fixed at 22 per cent

Has been overdrawing from the grid

LUCKNOW: With the power struggle between Uttar Pradesh and the Union Government threatening to intensify on Monday over the Centre’s reluctance to allocate more electricity to the State, word came in the evening that State Energy Minister Ramveer Upadhyaya would meet the Union Minister of State for Power, Jairam Ramesh, in New Delhi on Tuesday. The issue is likely to figure prominently at the crucial meeting.

Sources in the Union Power Ministry confirmed that the meeting would take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

Uttar Pradesh has demanded allocation of more electricity from the discretionary quota of the Northern Region grid. The State’s share from the discretionary quota is presently fixed at 22 per cent, which power officials here consider inadequate. Consequently UP has been overdrawing from the grid to meet its power needs.

Already the demand for power in the State at peak hours exceeds 9,000 MW, and with the availability of electricity from all sources pegged at around 6,000 MW there is a shortfall of 3,000 MW. As the day temperatures soar above the 42 degrees Celsius mark and the State reels under the impact of summer, the demand for power is likely to increase. Rostering to the tune of 1500 MW is being enforced in UP.

The face-off between the State and the Centre comes against the background of a warning issued by the Union power officials to UP, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh last week to stop overdrawing power from the Northern Grid lest it collapse. According to informed sources, there is a shortfall of 14.8 per cent in the Northern Grid itself.

UP drawal maximum

At around 400 MW, UP’s overdrawal from the Northern Grid was the maximum among the northern region States. However, the State power officials argue that the allotment of power from the discretionary quota is not consonant with its requirement. Said a senior official of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited on condition of anonymity, “Considering UP’s population of around 17 crore, the State’s share was only 22 per cent in the 1,690 MW discretionary quota of the Northern Grid. A State like Delhi, which is much smaller in size and whose population is less than that of UP has also been allotted 22 per cent.”

Justifying UP’s demand for a higher share, the official stated that no new power plant has been set up in the State in the past 15 years although the Mayawati Government has taken steps to add another 900 MW to the installed capacity. Besides, after the formation of Uttarakhand in 2000, hydro-power sources have been transferred to the neighbouring State. “The Centre allotted a coal block in Orissa to UP for addressing the needs of the thermal power plants, but the State has been denied exclusive rights as the same has to be shared with two other States,” the power official added.

In the context of the State’s power needs, the demand had gone up given that 20,000 villages have been saturated under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Programme and electricity lines in 14,000 Ambedkar villages have been refurbished.

The financial liability of UP for overdrawing power from the grid (Central pool) is around Rs.800 crore. The amount would be paid in 12 monthly instalments.