With Uttar Pradesh facing an acute shortage of power,the Mayawati government will be spending Rs 8 to 10 crore every day during the general elections to ensure that the lack of electricity doesnt cause trouble for the Bahujan Samaj Party.
From April onwards the UP Government will be purchasing power from the governments of Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh,as well as from private companies like Tata and Reliance at rates ranging between Rs 4.50 to Rs 7.50 per unit. Chhattisgarh was so far giving 270 MW of electricity to rural areas at the rate of Rs 7.50 per unit,from midnight to 5 am. The contract ended on February 28.
Fresh negotiations are on with the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board for the purchase of 90 MW of electricity at the rate of Rs 4.50 per unit. The government is also trying to chalk out an arrangement to buy 90 MW of electricity from Tatas North Delhi Power Company Limited and the same amount from Reliance Power at the rate of Rs 4.50 per unit. Both Tata and Reliance buy power from Chhattisgarh and then trade it in the open market. Sources in the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) confirm that during the Assembly elections,Reliance and Tata sold power to UP at the rate of Rs 10.50 per unit. The government will also get 100 MW from Vishnuprayag in Uttarakhand and 60 MW from Birlas Renusagar thermal power plant.
Already,UP has reached an agreement with the Himachal Pradesh government for the purchase of 250 MW of electricity in the first half of April and 400 MW in the second half at Rs 7.50 per unit.
Nonetheless,Navneet Sehgal,managing director UPPCL,denied that the power purchase to do anything with the elections despite the timing. There is nothing new in the purchase,as every summer the government buys power from other states having excess power, he said.
The records of the UPPCL confirm that the restricted (estimated at the minimum) requirement of power in UP is 185 million units per day,while the power available to the state is 155 million units. There is a power cut of 30 million units at all the times, said a corporation official. According to the UPPCL,none of the cities in the state get round-the-clock power supply,barring capital Lucknow,industrial town Noida and Agra,which receives the privilege thanks to Supreme Court directives.
However,the power deals will cost the government over Rs 250 crore a month. Whatever the government is paying to purchase electricity should not be incorporated into the UPPCLs expenses. The reason is that it would be recorded in the corporations Annual Revenue Requirement and eventually the corporation employee and the consumer will have to face the brunt of it, said Shailendra Dubey,secretary-general,All India Power Engineers Federation.