`Corrupt' officials may obstruct power reforms

NEW DELHI OCT. 31. Notwithstanding the impressive beginning made by the two private power companies, power sector reforms in Delhi could run into rough weather, what with the reins of transmission and generation and Pragati Power project being handed over to the `same group' of top officials, who were known for inefficiency and corruption in the erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board and had `single-handedly' ruined the Board.

As part of reforms, the Delhi Government had unbundled the Delhi Vidyut Board into seven companies. While the control of three distribution companies (DISCOMs) was handed over to the BSES and Tata Power in July, the top DVB officials were made in charge of the rest four companies -- Delhi Power Company (Holding Company), Delhi Power Supply Company (TRANSCO), Indraprastha Power Generation Company (GENCO) and Pragati Power Corporation.

Experts watching the power sector reforms in the Capital said the marked improvement in situation on the electricity front, better customer care and increase in revenue collection -- which DVB could have rarely thought -- by BSES and Tata Power with the same bunch of workforce, only proves there was mismanagement by the DVB officials.

``Four months have passed after privatisation and no attempt has been made for reforms in any of these four companies. The situation has only deteriorated even as the workload has declined,'' said a senior official in the Union Power Ministry. Not only Jagdish Sagar is the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the four companies but also the Principal Secretary (Power) in Delhi Government. The same is the case with all senior level posts, both managerial and technical. Experts said the chances of success of power sector reforms in Delhi would have brightened only after an attempt was made to clean up the mess in these four companies.

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