HC partially lifts the power ban

| 08 December 1999 10:07 IST

The 19-month long ban on new power connections in Goa has finally been lifted by the high court, but only partially, to clear pending applications for agricultural, commercial and industrial purpose.

After going through the detailed chart submitted by the state electricity department, the Panaji bench of Mumbai high court has permitted to release only 23.50 MW of power in monthly phases, up to February 2000.

The court has withheld the six-phase plan of the department till May 2000, which was meant to clear all 2237 applications with a requirement of 39.77 MW. The decision regarding the balance of 16.27 MW would be taken only after the department files a compliance report before the court by February.

The ban was imposed in May last year after Anil Kher, a young industrialist, had filed a public interest litigation seeking court intervention into indiscriminate power connections released to the industries, including quite a few power guzzlers like ferro alloy units, while the tourist state was already short of power.

The court had later modified its order in October, exempting domestic consumers from the ban, which also included power connections for all other purposes including street lights and total prohibition on illumination. On the eve of Christmas, the court has now also allowed illumination.

While Goa wheels power generated in Maharashtra and Karnataka at the cost of huge amount of transmission losses, the position improved a bit after Goa's first private power generation plant of 50 MW was commissioned by the Salgaoncar Reliance Pvt Ltd Company in July.

But it took five more months for the government to get the court ban lifted from the time the state was having almost 48 MW of excess power, which also includes 8 MW released to the Mormugao Port Trust earlier but discontinued after RSPLC started supplying them. A proper representation was made only last month.

The electricity department has also brought to the notice of the court the pending bills of Rs 35 crore of the RSPLC towards the power purchased in last five months, but not released to any consumer as a result of the ban.

The new coalition government in the meanwhile has not only decided not to allow any more power guzzlers in the state but has also rejected the pending proposals of at least 15 ferro alloy units before the state-run Economic Development Corporations in order to discourage such units here.

The maximum number of 1993 applications (80 per cent) pending before the government since May last year require only 4.94 MW of power which includes even small shops etc. There are also 294 agricultural connections pending with a requirement of only 1.03 MW.

The major requirement however is of 20 MW for 59 industrial units with 11 KV connection and five connections of 33 KV for 10 MW of power. The department is also trying to release power to some of these units, provided they fall in the seniority list laid down by the court.

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