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|February 18, 1999||
President's rule intensifies Goa's power problems, industrial activity hampered
Sandesh Prabhudesai in Panaji
Goa may urge the Bombay high court to lift the ban on new power connections, imposed nearly ten months back, once the state's first mini private power project is commissioned by the month-end.
The Reliance Salgaoncar Private Limited's private power project would begin generating 30 MW immediately in an open cycle system. The combined cycle would start generating around 50 MW in three months.
The state-run power department, however, would be able to secure only 40 MW from the unit. For, the authorities have decided not to scrap the power purchase agreement RSPL had signed in September last year to sell its 10 MW to the Mormugao Port Trust directly.
Following this PPA, the government then totally banned its short-lived privatisation and corporatisation policy, allowing private generators to sell directly to the consumers. Before it could finalise the policy, it has been now brought under President's rule.
Governor J F R Jacob is, however, keen on going ahead with the former Congress government's plan of public debate on both these aspects, though he does not wish to frame the power policy but wait for the new government to do the rest. The debate is scheduled for the next month.
Meanwhile, the RSPL power would be absorbed by the Sancoale sub-station in Mormugao taluka, supplying power to the port town of Vasco as well as the Verna electronic city, where most of the electric multinationals are situated.
Although this would improve the power situation in the state, authorities admit that it would not help in wiping out the power deficit totally. "With our immediate requirement of 300 MW, we would still need 50 MW more," admits T Nagarajan, the chief electrical engineer. The state presently consumes 210 MW wheeled from the NTPC.
"I don't see any problem in the court agreeing to our request to lift the ban since power supply would be within our control once the RSPL project is commissioned," claims the power secretary, Rakesh Mehta. He points out that the decision not to allow 26 new power guzzlers has come as a big relief, helping the state to improve its power situation.
But the industry still seems to be worried as power fluctuations and unannounced power shut-downs have become order of the day. Most of the industries are still banking upon generators while no major industry can think of coming to Goa without having its own captive power plant.
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