Maharashtra legislature panel seeks report on power sector losses
PAC, which examined the strictures passed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the last two years, tabled its report in both the houses of the legislature on Thursdaymumbai Updated: Apr 02, 2017 23:30 IST
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the state legislature slammed the power department of the state government for various flaws like thermal power plants generating huge amounts of fly ash leading to pollution, low plant load factor resulting in losses and irregularities in transportation of coal to power plants. The committee directed the department to take corrective measures and submit a report within three months.
PAC, which examined the strictures passed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the last two years, tabled its report in both the houses of the legislature on Thursday. The committee, headed by BJP MLA and former minister Sunil Deshmukh, said while the international standard related to the generation of fly ash from any power plant is 4%, it’s 40% in the state. This has led to loss of crops and health hazards for people residing nearby. No measures to reduce the dissemination of ash have been taken despite numerous complaints by farmers, the report said.
The committee has asked the state to use state-of-the-art machinery and set up fly ash unit in all power plants. “The coal used in the plants should be of a better quality to keep a check on generation of the ash. The government should look into production of by-products from ash with the help of joint ventures. Also, electricity should be provided to people residing in the vicinity on concessional rates,” the report said.
The report also points at the loss suffered by the Maharashtra State Power Generation Co Ltd (Mahagenco) owing to low plant load factor (PLF). It has also raised questions on the Mahageneco failing to recover power bills. “Mahageneco’s PLF in 2009-10 was 69% even when the national rate was 78%. This has led to a loss of Rs400 crore to the company. Also, the company has been unable to recover bill amounts, while private players have been successful at the task. The government company should pay more attention to recovery,” the report read.
During the hearing, the officials from the power department told the committee that the PLF was low due to lower demand against the capacity of the plants. “The PLF is determined on the power generation against its capacity. The generation was low as there was no demand for power in the market,” the official said.
“I have asked power minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule to take serious note of the report and the discrepancies brought to the fore. The government is working towards modernising the plants, but many issues raised by us, still have to be looked at,” said Deshmukh.