THE INDIAN National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) has opposed the Union Power Ministry’s move to set up an equipment-manufacturing company on the lines of the Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) for faster capacity addition. The idea has been mooted in view of the growing demands from power generation companies.
However, INTUC State president R D Tripathi says that BHEL is capable of meeting the demands. INTUC on Sunday submitted a memorandum to the visiting Heavy Industries Minister Santosh Mohan Deb in this regard.
According to sources, the Power Ministry is considering a proposal to set up an equipment-manufacturing company even as the NTPC has forayed into manufacture of transformers and electrical works.
The proposal to promote another power equipment major is primarily derived from huge targets set for capacity addition. The idea is to install an integrated facility with capacities to produce major equipment like boilers, turbines and switchgears among others. The proposal came up for discussion at a presentation of the Energy Coordination Committee to the Prime Minister last month.
The INTUC said in the memorandum that the need of the hour is not to set up a parallel BHEL but to adequately strengthen BHEL in terms of increased investment and human capital.
Tripathi asserted it is wrong to say that BHEL is incapable of meeting the demand of equipment required to generate additional power of 60,000 mw by the year 2012.
“BHEL is an Indian multinational, which is supplying equipment to more than 50 countries and is fully capable of delivering equipment needed to meet requirements of the country”, he added.
However, the fact remains that the BHEL is facing one of the toughest times in its history, as many state electricity boards (SEBs) including MPSEB have started pointing fingers at the BHEL for failing to supply equipments on time, thereby adding to the woes of power-starved state governments.
The company is already lagging behind the target of the Tenth Plan. Power generating companies and SEBs fear that in view of delays in supply of key equipments there is every possibility of major slippage in scheduled commissioning of projects. Power generating companies have brought to the Power Ministry’s notice that BHEL is taking up supply contracts much beyond its delivering capacity.
Senior officials in the Heavy Industries Ministry confirmed having received complaints in this regard from some SEBs as well Ministry of Power.
“We have already taken up the issue with the BHEL authorities, who have assured to do the needful to deliver equipments as per contracts,” said a senior officer on condition of anonymity.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also met Union Heavy Industry Minister Santosh Mohan Deb and apprised him of the problems being faced by Madhya Pradesh owing to BHEL’s failure to meet its deadline.