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The P R Kumaramangalam Chat

Union Power Minister P R Kumaramangalam logged into the Rediff Chat from his office in the ministry. Unlike most of his colleagues, Ranga is wired! Read on for a discussion on the depressing power situation, Ranga's plans to make India self-sufficient in power by 2005, and, of course, politics.

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:18 IST)

Kandasamy (Wed Apr 29 1998 5:32 IST)
Mr. Kumaramangalam, now that you are out of the Congress house, do you now believe that Rajiv Gandhi was behind the Bofors kickbacks? If so, do you insist on bringing the truth out to the public?

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:19 IST)
Kandaswamy: I have no idea of whether Rajivji was in any way involved in the kickbacks of the Bofors deal. The investigation will bring out whether he was or not.

Kandasamy (Wed Apr 29 1998 5:34 IST)
Mr Kumaramangalam, what is your timetable for improving the power situation in TN? What are the new projects you are planning to set up in TN?

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:21 IST)
Kandaswamy: Three years is the time table by which TN should be able to meet its power requirements. Which is today 500 mega watts short.

Kandasamy (Wed Apr 29 1998 5:38 IST)
Mr Kumaramangalam, everybody in TN can appreciate the work of P Chidambaram. His economics policies were well appreciated by everyone and did the best for India in opening up the Indian market. In comparison to his achievements what is the goal you set for yourself?

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:26 IST)
Kandaswamy: During the two years Mr Chidambaram was the finance minister and came out with his dream Budget India has seen an economic recession and rise in unemployment by over 3% and it dropped in capacity addition of power by over 20%. I don't want such statistics in my term. I don't wish to cater to media hype, but wish to deliver results. It is my hope that the reforms I have announced will bring in a change that will make India self sufficient in power by 2005.

mala (Wed Apr 29 1998 6:44 IST)
What is your commitment to Tamil Nadu's development? Do you identify yourself as a Tamilian?

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:29 IST)
Mala: I am a Tamilian born and brought up in Tamil Nadu. My native place is Tiruchengode and I believe that my state would be one of the most modern states not only in India but also in the world on a comparative table in the coming century.

krishnamurti (Wed Apr 29 1998 6:54 IST)
Sir, did you join the BJP out of personal motives or because you felt you will be able to serve India though this party? Could you tell us why you are disillusioned with the Congress party today? What is wrong with it now and was not wrong previously? Do you think Sonia Gandhi is the right leader for the Congress? If so, why?

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:33 IST)
Krishnamurthy: I joined the Congress in 1969 with stars in my eyes, dreaming of an India where there is no hunger, all have shelter, employment and leisure. A modern vibrant nation and I believed that my involvement in politics would be to achieve that end and the Congress was the best vehicle to serve the people.

Unfortunately in the last six seven years I have noticed that almost all the leaders have left their principles and commitments well behind and were progressing on the path of self service. I resigned my ministerial post in 1993 raising questions of both ethics in politics and the economic situation.

I didn't join the BJP for a ministership, on the contrary it is because I felt that in this party there is an opportunity to serve the people which opportunity was missing in the Congress due to its total dedication to self service.

Princess (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:20 IST)
Good evening Mr Kumaramangalam, what is your view on Sonia heading the Congress party? Your contemporary Mani Shankar Aiyar has returned to that party, where do you stand vis-a-vis her?

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:40 IST)
Princess: Mani's return to Congress is his decision. I am very clear that the leadership of the Congress which existed before Soniaji became the president still continues to have a stranglehold and is still directing the party on the path of self service. For the Congress to change would take a long time as a real in depth silent revolution is required.

Princess (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:29 IST)
You are a very, very recent convert to the BJP ranks. So what was it about you that led Vajpayee to make you a Cabinet minister, over the heads of BJP veterans from TN? Do you think the local BJP back home is happy about you?

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:42 IST)
Princess: ask Vajpayeeji and the TN unit of the BJP.

Kamakshi Subramaniam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:29 IST)
Ranga: Subramanian Swamy has declared war on your government. He says he will pull it down. Do you think it's just hot air?

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:43 IST)
Kamakshi: Subrahmanian Swamy can never be considered as hot air but I think he has no plans to pull the government down in reality.

electric blue (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:37 IST)
Mr Kumaramangalam, how did India reach such a desperate state that till today we have villages that do not have electricity, and regular load shedding (save in your VIP Delhi area)? Who is to blame?

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:48 IST)
Electric Blue: The reason for the power shortage is basically one of lack of capacity generation and substandard distribution equipment. Over the last 5 years in the wake of privatisation of power generation a target of 30,000 mega watts was given up and only 16,000 mega watts added. And lots of mega bucks were made.

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:51 IST)
On Tehri: I have only made a statement that I believe that any issues of environment that are raised should be addressed fairly. I will not accept the statement that only an American consultant has the ability to decide or investigate environmental issues. I think nobody would agree with this statement. I have said I would not succumb to anybody who insists on these conditions. The investigation will go on and if there is no danger to the environment why should the project which gives cheap power be sidelined on the advice of people who have continuous power?

anjali de delhi (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:51 IST)
URGENT AND MOST IMPORTANT: PLEASE REPLY IMMEDIATELY Sir, Oh Sir, why is there so much power shortage in Delhi the city where I was born and brought up, and which I so love?

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:52 IST)
Anjali: Delhi's power shortage is due to substandard cables and transformers in addition to theft of power in collusion with officials at the Delhi Vidyut Board.

SANDY (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:45 IST)
Mr Minister : How do you plan to improve the power situation? (In layman's terms pliz)

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:57 IST)
Sandy: We plan to solve the power problem in India by adopting a three pronged strategy. Firstly we plan to renovate and improve the maintenance of the generating units and also do system upgradation of the transmission/ distribution systems. By this method we would make available about 5,000 mega watts of power within two years. Simultaneously we would be adding capacity generation of the existing ongoing projects to the extent of 30,000 mega watts in the next 5 years. Further, we would strengthen our national grid to evacuate 30,000 mega watts from any part of to any part of India to balance this excess/shortage of power in regions. Lastly, though not the least, we will add 100,000 mega watts through mega projects.

Mr Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (Wed Apr 29 1998 8:59 IST)
Thank you for the interest shown. Bye.

P R Kumaramangalam Chat, continued