Orissa’s Energy Minister tries to be honest to cover up his Chief’s negligence to power generation

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa’s energy minister Pranab Prakash Das has confessed that the people are bound to suffer severe load-shedding as the State is “facing a shortfall of 500-550 MW”, as hydro power generation has drastically declined due to inadequate rainfall that has reduced the required level of water in the reservoirs.

As against normal quantum of 2085 MW, generation has fallen below 1750 MW, as on today, the minister has said.

In confessing the truth of decline in power generation, the power minister has acted honest; but thereby, he has just tried to cover up the harm to power sector caused by chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s habitual nonchalance.

I will begin with the present energy secretary Suresh Mahapatra.

He was the chairman of Orissa Power Transmission Corporation in 2006. On February 21, 2006, he had informed the Energy Secretary of the Government of Orissa in his D.O. No. R&T-Regn- 22/2005 – 896 that unless immediate steps for generation of at least 9000MW are taken, it may be impossible to avoid power-cut from the next year, i.e. 2007. At that time, as against 3500MW capacity, generation was around 1800MW.

Instead of steps for full utilization of generation capacity and/or enhancement of generation capacity, Naveen Patnaik’s blind priority on Industry had inked MoUs with 44 major Steel Industries and 3 major Alumina Industries that were to consume at least 5717MW more by 2009-10.

Previewing the days to come, the then Chairman of Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission D.C.Sahu had addressed D.O.No.CHP/2005/812 on May 20, 2005 to Energy Secretary R.N.Bahidar that by 2006-07, power supply to domestic and industrial consumers would be unmanageable unless immediate steps are taken for more  generation as envisaged under Vision 2010.

Naveen Patnaik’s single-minded priority on serving the interest of POSCO, Vedanta et al has not allowed the necessary time to administration to implement vision 2010. Exactly as apprehended, power-cut has menacingly come.

People of this State, who are now brutally pushed into total disadvantage due to power-cuts, have the entitlement to have the explanation from Naveen Patnaik as to why load-shedding has become unavoidable; and why fall in reservoir level has hit Orissa.

Whether or not hijacking of river water by industries is responsible for fall of water level must be informed to the people with verifiable details.

The father had initiated the debacle in power sector by shattering the well equipped OSEB and the cadre of its engineers; the son has enhanced the debacle by ignoring all advices for higher generation and lower pilferage.

People need answer from the chief minister.

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