The Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited,which has outstanding liabilities of nearly Rs 25,000 crore,has found a generous donor. The State Agricultural Produce Marketing Board,commonly known as Mandi Parishad,which is headed by the Chief Minister,has sanctioned loans of Rs 100 crore and Rs 200 crore to UPPCL within a month. A third loan of Rs 300 crore is said to be in the pipeline.
On the other hand,thousands of employees at mandi samitis at district level are yet to get their salaries since February.
The loans were sanctioned from the cess corpus where the half per cent tax charged at mandis goes. But the payment of both loans was done from Mandi Vikas Nidhi,which is raised from the two per cent tax on the transactions at mandi,and is mainly utilised for construction and maintenance of mandis and payment of salaries to mandi samiti employees at district level.
The loans were given in the larger interest of the farmers. Disruption of power would have hit them badly. We sanctioned the loans on the same rate of interest as we are getting from the bank. There is no financial loss. It was approved by the board, said Anoop Yadav,Director of the Mandi Parishad.
He was evasive about the account from which the loan was sanctioned. I will check about the exact account from which these loans were sanctioned, he stated.
The first loan of Rs 100 crore was sanctioned on March 8 after a letter of Principal Secretary (Power) Sanjeev Mittal reached the Mandi Parishad. It stated that the Power Grid Corporation had given a notice to UPPCL for disconnecting 800 MW of power supply from midnight on March 8 due to non-payment. The Chief Minister has given orders that Rs 100 crore be made available to UPPCL from Mandi Parishad today to prevent power snapping from Power Grid Corporation,the letter said.
The loan was sanctioned by Chief Minister in his capacity as Chairman of the Mandi Parishad within hours. It was stated that UPPCL will return the loan within one month and an interest rate of 8.5 per cent will be charged. It was also stated that this is being done for one time only and no department,including the Power Department,will cite it as an example for securing loan from Mandi Parishad in future. The UPPCL failed to return the loan in a month despite Mandi Parishads reminder.
Rather,on April 24,another letter reached Mandi Parishad from UPPCL demanding a loan of Rs 200 crore to meet the financial crisis of UPPCL,as directed by the Chief Minister. This time,UPPCL did not specify any repayment period. The loan was sanctioned the next day by Rakesh Garg,who is Principal Secretary to CM,as Akhilesh was on tour.
This time Mandi Parishad charged 8.75 per cent as interest. It also mentioned that the previous loan of Rs 100 crore is still outstanding against UPPCL but since the CM had mentioned the power crisis in the state,it is sanctioning the loan but will not give any such amount in future.
There is a talk now that the Mandi Parishad may soon be asked to shell out another Rs 300 crore for the power corporation.