No shortfall as of now,says Pawar; state will sell surplus power.
Maharashtra will buy 5,000 MW from the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC),which will help it meet the power demand in the peak-demand months ahead. The state will market the surplus.
Although power generation has been hit owing to non-availability of gas to Ratnagiri Gas and Power Limited,and shortage of water in dams,the state has no power shortfall as of now,according to Deputy CM and Power Minister Ajit Pawar.
Pawar,who also holds the finance portfolio,said,There is no power shortage at present. The offer from the central grid will make the state power surplus.
The Central power grid offered the power to Maharashtra in view of its excellent record of making payments. The power offered,incidentally,was what NTPC is withdrawing from from Uttar Pradesh that failed to clear massive bills.
A secretary in the ministry of power said,Officially,we have given our consent to the proposal to buy 5000 MW. The technicalities have to be completed. It will be through in a few weeks.
Officials in the power ministry admitted,The price offered by NTPC comes to Rs 2 per unit. Overall,it would help the state to maintain a reasonable tariff.
Responding to a question on how the state is geared to tackle power demand in peak summer,Pawar said,On the power front,there is nothing to worry. Even now the shortage of 785 MW is deliberately maintained to ensure that those who are not paying dues are deprived of 24-hour supply.
To check defaulters,the government allows three hours of loadshedding in several regions from 7 pm to 10 pm.
The state is reeling under a severe drought. Pawar,in the annual budget 2013-14,earmarked Rs 1,000 crore to tackle drought. The Rs 5,000 crore which is unmarked and kept aside is to ensure there would be no paucity of funds in providing water across 15 drought-hit districts.
Both Pawar and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had repeatedly stated that dams will be used to meet drinking water supply before being used for anything else. The state has curtailed use of water for agriculture and industries.
The government acknowledges that water shortage has affected power generation. Shortage of gas has brought Ratnagiri Gas and Power Limited almost to a standstill.
Move to bring discipline
The 785-MW shortfall in the state,according to the government,was a deliberate move to discipline defaulters who failed to clear dues. The state government says they have made adequate provisions to ensure sustained power despite shortage of gas and coal for plants.
The NTPC offer will meet the demands ahead. The state will sell surplus electricity at a higher rate to the private sector.