Bengal’s ‘river of sorrow’ gives Delhi sore grief | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Bengal’s ‘river of sorrow’ gives Delhi sore grief

For centuries, the Damodar was called Bengal’s ‘river of sorrow’. Now, Kolkata-based power major Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) has emerged as the chief villain in Delhi’s power crisis.

delhi Updated: May 23, 2009 23:32 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

For centuries, the Damodar was called Bengal’s ‘river of sorrow’. Now, Kolkata-based power major Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) has emerged as the chief villain in Delhi’s power crisis.

The Corporation, which produces both thermal and hydel power, has failed to honour its commitment to supply 400 MW or 10 per cent of Delhi’s peak power demand this year.

“DVC has not been supplying us power as per our agreement. It has been a problem since last year. We are managing without it. But it’s tough,” said Delhi’s Power Secretary Rajendra Kumar.

From private power distributors to the Capital’s power transmission utility, all blame DVC for the ongoing power shortage.

It seems no lessons were learnt from DVC’s non-performance in the summer of 2008.

“Our situation has been deteriorating since last year. It has become worse this year,” said Prabir Kumar Chaudhury, DVC’s Chief Engineer (Commercial). “We have not been generating enough.”

DVC officials blame low generation on inadequate coal supplies.

They say DVC needs four railway wagon loads of coal for optimum production. The Corporation reportedly lost 1200 million units of power last year due to coal shortage.

“We have started bringing coal in trucks now just to stay afloat,” said Chaudhury.

As a result of the crisis, Delhi has taken DVC to Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), the national power watchdog, for not honouring the agreement. A decision is pending.

Delhi’s peak power demand of more than 4000 MW is the highest among Indian cities.

However, the Capital produces only around 20 per cent of its total requirement.

The situation is likely to improve once the 1500 MW gas-based power plant coming up in Bawana starts generating electricity by next year.

“Delhi has not constructed any power plant in the last 15 years. This new plant will make Delhi self sufficient (in power) by 2011,” said an official.

But that means two more years of sweating it out for Delhi’s inhabitants.