Mismanagement of power generating and supplying has become endemic in our State. The PDD is perennially in news. Whether our State’s power woes will see an end some day or not remains a moot question. Why we are unable to cure this ailment remains an unanswered question.
In reply to a question raised by the Udhampur other organizations that have supplied power on sale purchase basis but are still waiting to receive the full payment, the answer given by the Minister in charge of power, is simply frightening. As per the data provided by the Minister, in reply to the question of Udhampur MLA, the Government has paid Rs 1055.92 crore interests on the power purchase bills during the past three years. Besides this, the Government has lost Rs 120 crore worth incentive every year for failure to clear the power purchase bills within the stipulated time-frame of 60 days. It has to be noted that according to the MoU signed by the State Government with the power supplying sources payments made on time make the State PDD eligible to claim 2 per cent rebate on the amounts outstanding. This is indirectly giving incentive to the borrower enabling it to make payments in time.
The situation of our State is that for last three years it has failed every financial year to liquidate the power bill as a result of which the State had to suffer on two ends. One is the interest on the outstanding amount and the second is the 2 per cent rebate as promised and practiced by the Union Ministry of Power. During 2015-16 financial year, an amount of Rs 481.527 crore was paid as interest for late payment to NTPC, NHPC, NPCIL, SJVNL Rampur, PTC India Limited, APCPL Jhajjar, NVVN and PTC etc. Similarly, during 2016-17 financial year, an amount of Rs 339.915 crore was paid as interest to the power generating companies of the country while as an amount of Rs 234.481 crore was paid as interest during 2017-18 financial year (till November 2017).
Not making clearance of power purchase bills in time is costing nearly Rs 450 crore to the State exchequer per annum. This is not a small amount when we calculate the entire losses incurred so far. Timely payment of the bills could have saved the state exchequer this amount and then the same could have been utilized for improvement in the power sector like infrastructure and construction of small hydroelectric projects.
This is not just one aspect that clearly shows how much insensitive the PDD is towards the losses which its negligence and sloth force on the people of the State. The story of allotment of a coal block in Odisha coal mines to the State in 2013 is also scandalous. The PDD has not been able to explore and exploit the source of thermal power when the Union Ministry of Coal for the first time allotted a coal block to the State. While the State is faced with power shortage and is making frantic efforts to reduce the gap between demands and supply it is surprising that it has taken no step towards utilization of thermal power placed at its disposal by the Union Government.
All this suggests that there is need of drastic reformation in the PDD but as we see the Government is not perhaps willing to move an inch towards that direction. How then can things improve in PDD and when can the State become self sufficient in her power requirements is anybody’s guess.