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Power crisis: Deshmukh seeks PM's help

May 05, 2005 11:56 IST

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Wednesday said he was likely to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday to discuss measures to tide over the ongoing power crisis in the state.

"I have sought a meeting with the Prime Minister tomorrow," Deshmukh said after a meeting with Union Power Minister P M Sayeed in New Delhi. Deshmukh said he hoped for some relief from the Centre within a fortnight.

Maharashtra is currently facing a 3,500 MW shortage during the peak hours. While four-hour a day load-shedding was on in urban areas, rural areas had to go without power for around nine hours, Deshmukh said.

Sayeed said a strategy had been devised to help Maharashtra. "We will explore all ways and means to help the state meet the energy shortfall," Sayeed said. But he declined to give details of the strategy.

Sayeed's remarks came in response to a question about the proposal to provide 500 Mw power to Maharashtra from the Tarapur Nuclear Power Plant and Kawas and Gandhar projects of the National Thermal Power Corporation in Gujarat to meet the state's energy shortfall.

Deshmukh, who had met the Union power secretary last night, said he had sought the Centre's help to meet the energy shortfall through various central schemes and NTPC projects.

The power situation, meanwhile, has eased a bit since Tuesday midnight, with Andhra Pradesh starting to provide 400 Mw additional power.

Since May 1, 2005, Andhra Pradesh has been supplying Maharashtra 150 MW of power. It has increased this to 550 MW.

"The situation has eased with this additional power supply from Andhra Pradesh. Deshmukh spoke to his counterpart in Andhra Pradesh, following which the additional power has been made available," said Maharashtra State Electricity Board chairman Jayant Kawle.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat government has also expressed its readiness to provide additional power to Maharashtra.

"Gujarat has been providing 225 MW to Maharashtra every day despite the political differences and is ready to provide more electricity to keep Mumbai's neon signs on," said Saurabh Dalal, Gujarat minister of state for energy, on Wednesday.

Talking to reporters in Gandhinager, Dalal said Gujarat had sufficient power generation capacity to meet the summer peak demands. There was no plan to announce any power cut for the industry, he added. Stating that Gujarat was self sufficient in power generation, the minister said and added the total 8,500 Mw demand was being met regularly.

"The agriculture and industrial sectors will keep receiving electricity as announced earlier," Dalal said.

Meanwhile, the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the MSEB to adopt a uniformity in power supply to all areas and sectors barring the municipal corporation limits of Mumbai.

A Division Bench comprising Justice JN Patel and Justice PS Brahme said there should be uniformity in quality of electricity and number of hours of supply. It also directed the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission to finalise a plan for load-shedding in the entire state.

The Bench directed the MSEB to consider the plight of the rural population where load-shedding had been increased from six to nine hours, while in urban areas the hours of power cut had been enhanced from three to four hours.

The state is unable to afford the luxury of a non-peak hour period between 11 pm and 7 am as power supply during this period has been increased.

"While load shedding means that power is not supplied for a particular period of time, the consumption of power more or less remains the same, when supply is switched on. Industries that are in manufacturing, for instance, resume their production cycles whenever power is switched on, whether during the day or during the night," he said.

Meeting the shortfall

  • Maharashtra is currently facing a 3,500 MW shortage during peak hours
  • Load-shedding has been increased from 6 to 9 hours in rural areas, in urban areas it has been enhanced from 3 to 4 hours
  • Andhra Pradesh has started supplying 400 MW power in addition to the 150 Mw it has been providing since May 1
  • Gujarat has been providing 225 MW to Maharashtra every day. 'We are ready to provide more to keep Mumbai's neon signs on," says a Gujarat minister
BS Bureau in New Delhi
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