The state government is all set to privatise power distribution on public private partnership (PPP) basis in Ghaziabad,Kanpur,Meerut and Varanasi. However,employees of the power department have opposed it and demanded a rollback of the decision.
Taking the first step,Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) has invited proposals for appointment of technical consultant for preparing a feasibility report for the project. The private company will undertake operations and maintenance of the distribution system and sub-transmission system in the four major cities of the state. It will be also responsible renovation,upgradation,modernisation and strengthening of the distribution system. The technical consultant will be selected on May 13.
Earlier,the Samajwadi Party had opposed Mayawatis decision to hand over power distribution to a private company Torrent at Agra in 2009. SP legislators had opposed the decision in Assembly. However,since April 2010,Torrent is handling the power distribution and revenue realisation from consumers in Agra. The privatisation of Kesco in Kanpur in 2010 was,however,stalled after employees threatened a flash strike.
UPPCL Engineers Association (UPPCLEA) claimed that the state government was spreading misconceptions about the status of revenue realisation in these cities. O P Pandey,general secretary of UPPCLEA,claimed that revenue realisation in Ghaziabad is Rs 4.38 per unit in division I and Rs 4.54 in division II. At Kanpur it is Rs 3.13 per unit while in Varanasi it is Rs 2.68 in division I and Rs 2.45 per unit in division II. The average revenue realisation in the state is Rs 2.35 per unit.
It clearly shows that the state government wants to hand over high revenue realisation districts to private parties, Pandey said. The UPPCLEA claimed that employees in Kesco had increased the revenue realisation from Rs 2.40 per unit in 2009 to Rs 3.50 per unit in 2012. If at that time Kesco had been handed over to private hands,it would have incurred a loss of Rs 1 per unit, he added. The association has given a protest call on April 15. If the proposal of privatisation is not dropped,we will intensify our agitation, Pandey said.
A senior UPPCL official said that power theft in these cities is one of the major reasons for handing over the distribution to private players. We cannot survive by billing only 70 per cent in Ghaziabad and Meerut. There has to be a way out, he claimed.