The Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has said that the Union Ministry of Power's claims that Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is "overburdened" is an attempt by the Government to sneak in MNCs in the power sector.
The top PSU, in fact, is underutilised because it does not get bulk orders from the Ministry of Heavy Industries and orders are often delayed. Secondly, the capacity addition target has not always been assigned to BHEL, CITU said.
In a letter written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, CITU secretary, Tapan Sen, said the contention of the Power Ministry that BHEL is overburdened, does not tally with facts.
Sen argued that BHEL's installed manufacturing capacity since the VI Five-Year Plan had been 6000MW per year. "The capacity addition target in successive plans decided by the Government have not always been wholly assigned to BHEL leading to underutilisation of capacity of BHEL," Sen said.
In none of the plans BHEL's installed capacity has been utilized beyond 70 per cent.
"This feature of underutilisation of BHEL became prominent from the VIII plan period onward when the Govt became too keen on wooing foreign funded companies," Sen wrote.
Moreover, out of the Xth Plan target of 41,110 MW, BHEL received orders for only about 50 per cent (about 20,000 MW).
This also refutes the very basis of the statement on so called the 'overburdened' status of BHEL. BHEL's annual report envisages expansion of BHEL's annual capacity to 10,000 MW per year from December 2007 in which case the country's XIth Plan capacity addition programme can be adequately met by BHEL to the tune of 50,000 MW, a target, which has never been achieved so far.
Sen wrote that the Power Ministry should have involved the Ministry of Heavy Industries in a serious dialogue to book bulk order on BHEL to facilitate as well as ensure time and cost-bound execution of the XIth Plan target.
"I am afraid the statement of Power Ministry to involve NTPC in equipment manufacturing in collaboration with a technology partner, appears to be an open invitation to powerful MNCs in the power sector to curtail BHEL's market and NTPC's core competence," the letter said.
Sen also wrote to Santosh Mohan Deb, Minister for Heavy Industries—the nodal ministry for BHEL—to take up the issue.
"I feel, this is an undue interference by the Power Ministry in the functioning of a manufacturing unit under a different ministry, besides being unjust and untenable, if weighed by facts and circumstances," Sen wrote to Deb.