India slow on power reforms: Wolfensohn

WASHINGTON, SEPT. 2. The World Bank president, Mr. James Wolfensohn, today criticised India for the ``slow progress'' in power sector reforms and said conditions must be created for running power plants economically if New Delhi wanted to attract investment.

Building a power plant in India is an ``impossibility'' as the structure is totally uneconomic, he said adding ``if you do not pay for power, nobody invests in India. Then you have no power at all, and then everybody screams''. Power plants must broadly recover their costs. Indian power plants have line loss, which is basically stealing and this is unknown in other countries, he told reporters.

Mr. Wolfensohn, however, said the World Bank did not have any problem lending to India in the face of U.S sanctions imposed after the May 1998 nuclear tests as virtually all loans were under the category of basic human needs.

``I don't think we are having any problems lending to India. There are very few of our loans that do not affect the poor. We are trying to characterise most of our loans on basic human needs,'' he said.


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