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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Day before paddy season, PSPCL in deep waters

Vishal Rambani , Hindustan Times  Patiala, June 09, 2014
First Published: 11:21 IST(9/6/2014) | Last Updated: 11:22 IST(9/6/2014)

The power-guzzling paddy season opens on Tuesday, the electricity corporation is not ready to meet the enor mous demand. Neither the coal supply is restored in spite of promise nor has the Bathinda thermalenergy plant, which on Saturday hit a snag, been revived.

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Because the Bathinda and Lehra Mohabbat plants are not operational, it has imposed power cuts on the domestic sector, in the rural areas particularly. The Talwandi Sabo plant also has stalled to add to worries.

Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) claims the coal crisis is resolved but it’s not getting the committed six rakes a day, even though it has agreed to pay Rs. 6 crore a day as advance freight and Rs. 100 per ton of coal as advance payment to fuel supplier Panem mines of Jharkhand.

On June 4, PSPCL chairman and managing director (CMD) KD Chaudhri had stated that the coal crisis was over but latest input from the corporation sources suggests that the supplier has failed to keep its promise, since it loaded only four rakes each on June 4 and 5, and cut it to three rakes on June 6 and two on June 7.

This arm-twisting tactic has put the PSPCL in tight spot when it has to run full throttle from Tuesday. The power secretary took up the matter with deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and now a Panem official will meet the power secretary in the coming week.

Sources said Panem was unhappy with the clause that imposed interest on advance payment.

Because of the “work to rule” agitation, the engineers have declined to respond to the emergency call to get two thermal-energy units at Bathinda and another at Lehra Mohabbat up and running after the technical snag on Saturday evening. They oppose the government’s giving service extension to the CMD and allowing IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officers into the power corporation management.

Both plants will become fully operational from Monday. In spite of several attempts, PSPCL chairman Chaudhri could not be contacted for comments.

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