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State in the dark for a decade

The Congress-led Democratic Front government has failed in easing the power shortage crisis in Maharashtra for over a decade, reportsDharmendra Jore.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2009, 01:39 IST
Dharmendra Jore
Dharmendra Jore
Hindustan Times

The Congress-led Democratic Front government has failed in easing the power shortage crisis in Maharashtra for over a decade.

This was revealed by the state’s economic survey for 2008-09 tabled in the Legislature on Wednesday.

The survey revealed that though power consumption has increased manifold, the state government hasn’t even added 500 megawatts (MW) to its generation.

Statistics available also show that every five-year plan the state reduced its direct investment in the power sector — the highest being 34.2 per cent in the first plan and the lowest being 9.6 per cent in the 10th.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Eknath Khadse blamed the state for not investing in the sector.

“The government did nothing for adding generation. It did invest some money but it only in last two years,” said Khadse, also former state finance minister. “I suppose the state will have live with darkness forever.”

Moreover, the state has been relying heavily on private participation.

A government source, requesting anonymity for lack of authorisation to speak to the media, said the state did not have enough money to put in costly power projects because of its high financial liabilities.

Barring a few, private producers who plan to set up power plants across Maharashtra are also moving slower.
Maharashtra started facing shortage 11 years ago.

The demand-supply gap that was 3,500 MW in 2000, has crossed 4,700 MW this year — with a 15,000 MW demand at peak time, which has been raising every year by over 12 per cent.

The shortage sees the state power distribution company enforcing cuts ranging between three to 16 hours.

But Mumbai hasn’t faced any power cuts primarily because the state can’t afford to diminish the status of the country’s financial capital by loadshedding.

The state hasn’t achieved much in energy conservation too.
Despite the dismal findings, a top energy official told Hindustan Times requesting anonymity that the state would become energy surplus by 2013.

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