State agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil is gearing up for another showdown with deputy CM and power and finance minister Ajit Pawar over Mula Pravara Electrical Cooperative Society (MPECS). Rs 2,400 crore is due to the society owned by the Vikhe-Patil family.
The state agriculture minister said,We will ask the appellate tribunal for electricity to transfer our case outside Maharashtra. We dont think Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MREC),which is NCP-controlled,will give us justice.
The autonomous MERC comes under ministry of power and Vikhe-Patil and Pawars have been political rivals for generations. The rivalry between former Union minister Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil and NCP president Sharad Pawar is well known and now Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Ajit Pawar are fighting for control of Ahmednagar district.
NCP,however,dismissed political harassment. It is an administrative decision as Vikhe-Patil company failed to clear dues.
Vikhe-Patil countered,Our cooperative provided better service to people than MSEDCL (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited). People never complained. Now,there is load shedding every day and people shell out money for repairs. They are facing power problems.
The dues are being exaggerated. Almost Rs 1,200 crore of the Rs 2,400 crore was farmer subsidy.
Supporters of Vikhe-Patil said MPECS was being singled out to deny it licence for power distribution in Ahmednagar district,home turf of Vikhe-Patils.
During 2010-11,MPECS was taken over by MSEDCL. However,the takeover was challenged in Supreme Court and the case referred back to MERC.
A senior bureaucrat in MERC said,Any individual can seek intervention of the appellate tribunal for electricity based in Delhi.
We are concerned about the dues. We cannot write off the dues. It is public money.
About licence to distribute power,he said:All aspects related to the licence will have to be determined during the case hearing.
However,officials in the ministry of power at Mantralaya said,The cabinet can exercise its discretionary powers to partly waive the dues if it is established farmers got subsidised loans. But the waiver should withstand court scrutiny.