The Maharashtra deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar, who also holds the energy portfolio on Friday, denied that there was any corruption in coal imports by the state-run power generation company. He dared the agitating opposition to prove their allegations in this regard. He went on to claim that the state was on the course to free itself from the crippling, long hours of load-shedding by next year.
Responding to a debate on the issue in the Assembly on the concluding day, initiated by leader of the opposition Eknath Khadse, the deputy chief minister, presented a rosy picture on the power front and said his ministry was confident of ending the load-shedding regime by December next year as 5988-MW of electricity would be available from various assured sources, including new private plants, added capacities in state power generation company at different locations and agreements signed with the central utility NTPC.
Blaming the opposition for obstructing new plans like the Jaitapur atomic plant and setting up more power plants in Vidarbha as well as Konkan, the deputy chief minister said such an attitude would not help the state’s development as electricity was key to it.
Dismissing charge that 49 to 85 private power players were eager to set up plants in Vidarbha, Pawar said till date 26 companies had submitted applications. "Its not as of we are asking all these companies to go to Vidarbha. The private companies are keen on Vidarbha as they find coal deposits are located here and there is plenty of land and water available. "If a plant is set up in Solapur, the generation cost shoots up over Rs 4 a unit, because of transportation costs. But in Vidarbha Adani is giving us for Rs 3.28 and Sofia for Rs 3.42," said Pawar.
Earlier, initiating the motion, Khadse said farmers were dying because of poor power supply that rendered their agricultural pumps useless while common man was suffering from burden of high tariff rates as the energy ministry had failed to cut transmission and distribution losses and corruption besides problems that rose from appointing private franchises for power distribution.