Thursday 13 June 2024

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Infrastructure | Power

BJP opposes power privatisation


Playing a little different tune than the central government, the Bharatiya Janata Party government of Goa has opposed privatisation of public utilities like water and power sector.

"The Goa unit of the BJP has taken a policy decision against privatisation of these two public utilities", said chief minister Manohar Parrikar, after returning from a national meeting convened by the prime minister to discuss power issues.

Stating that the local BJP is against any kind of privatisation where the government has no control over it, Parrikar fears that private companies may not fulfil needs of the people at large.

Though he is personally in favour of corporatisation of the power sector, Parrikar has decided not to make any official announcement in this regard unless all the concerned persons and organisations are consulted to discuss pros and cons of it.

The chief minister has mooted a proposal of corporatising the electricity department, to be managed by experts in the field and not the politicians, in order to run it on professional lines while keeping it fully under government control.

Parrikar however plans to privatise the billing section including the metering, while fixing a limit for billing and charging penalties below the limit and providing sops for billing above this limit to the private firm. "It will help us keeping control over power theft and pilferage", he says.

Except a mini private power generation project run by Reliance Salgaoncar Power Company Ltd which drained out all the profits of the electricity department, Goa wheels in power from the national grid generated in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

In fact the BJP government here has decided not to go ahead with the plan to privatise power generation any more but to strengthen its transmission capacity to wheel in the surplus power, allocated for Goa, going waste with the NTPC.

Though a subsidy scam of the erstwhile Congress government and haphazard connections given to several power guzzling units had messed up the power sector of the tiny state, the department returning back to the stage of making profits.

The national meeting chaired by prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has told the states to reach a break-even point within two years, but Goa would do it by June, claims Parrikar, adding that it should begin by making a profit of Rs 15 crore next year.

While the department already shows a revenue collection figure of Rs 35 crore against the expenditure of Rs 29 crore, he does not consider it to be profit-making since it includes around Rs six crore of arrears collected this month.

Visualising annual investment of around Rs 50 crore for the next five years for replacing the redundant infrastructure, Parrikar estimates around Rs 10 crore additional revenue once the losses of around 25 to 30 per cent towards transmission and distribution as well as thefts are minimised.

Planning energy audit at every sub-station, Parrikar has an ambitious plan to make each sub-station a profit-making centre by adopting appropriate methodology and subsidised consumption in an organised manner.

Goa has already gone ahead with the process of electronic metering while the Delhi meeting has served a deadline of December this year to all the states. While the meeting has also instructed to appoint state power regulatory commission by June, Parrikar informed that the Goa commission would be announced any moment. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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