Power shortage: An issue Mayawati can’t overlook
Besides improving law and order the reason people have voted her to power tackling the deteriorating power supply situation in the State will be another task for Mayawati.
Poor power supply also gives rise to crime during summers. The demand-supply gap in the State is already high due to scorching heat and rising with the mercury will be the number of incidents across the State in which angry people put up road block, beat up power staff, or set power sub-stations afire.
Significantly, the first thing the new Chief Minister need to do is to brush up her knowledge and understanding of the State’s power sector.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a chief ministers’ meeting in Delhi this month to discuss power situation in States.
The PM will examine power supply, transmission and distribution losses, power theft, and progress of Centre-funded schemes like Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), and Accelerated Power Development and Reform Project (APDRP) in the States.
Officers in Shakti Bhawan are busy preparing for the meeting. UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) managing director Avnish Awasthi confirmed that the PM had tentatively called the chief ministers’ meeting on May 28.
When Mulayam came to power three years back, he made tall claims to improve the power situation. The Reliance Energy Ltd’s (REL’s) proposed gas-based mega power project was touted as an answer to the prevailing power shortage in the State. The outgoing CM personally went out convincing people that the State would be rid of blackouts within three years.
This, however was not to be. On the contrary, as demand for power continued to rise, there was hardly any significant addition to power generation. At times the demand for power crosses 7700 mw while the demand-supply gap varies between 1500 mw and 2000 mw or more.
UPPCL’s study shows that demand for electricity in State would rise with nothing to boost supply in the next three years after which electricity from some proposed projects would be available. But such a situation may pose a serious problem to the Mayawati government and some alternative arrangement like getting more and more power from the Central power sectors might be required.
The Centre has often held UP responsible for its power crisis. Lack of modernisation of power plants, growing distribution losses, uncurbed power theft are some reasons the Center has been attributing power mess in the State to.
Mulayam government had accused the Centre of making discrimination in allocating electricity from the Central pool to UP. It is yet to be seen how Mayawati presents UP’s case at the meeting to be presided over by the Prime Minister.