'No power- No industry' situation hits Goa

| 19 April 1998 10:27 IST

Enough is enough and Goa cannot think of any major industry coming to the state at least for next one year, thanks to the worst ever power crisis the tourist state is facing today.

Most of the industries, including multinationals, are habituated by now to run on generators instead of facing irritating voltage fluctuations. Load shedding of 40 MW has already begun all over the state, during peak hours at night.


In addition, industries minister Mauvin Godinho has now announced that electric supply to the power guzzling steel units in the state would be allotted only for 10 days in a month. It would affect production in at least around 20 such medium scale steel foundries in the tiny state.

"Can you tell new industries that we are unable to provide power ?", asks Godinho, when asked how he would supply power to the new industries under construction. He is however firm on his decision not to permit any power guzzlers in the state.

"But he has already made enough damage by permitting such units", quips Parag Joshi, the small industries association president. In last one year, he alleges, the government has permitted over 20 power guzzling units, including one steel plant permitted last month.

Most of the industries have managed to rush into production because the five-year tax holiday concession expired on 31 March. The state allowed as many as 222 units, including 23 big ones, despite being fully aware of the power crisis.

Around 163 large and medium scale industries are presently in a pipeline, including over Rs 500 crore Italian project of Taksid Kalyani and Coca Cola's bottling unit. But the government is unsure of meeting their power requirements.

"They should have their own captive power generators", feels Sangay Shenga, the industries director. Luizinho Faleiro, the industries minister, is chalking out crisis management plan of getting barge-mounted power generators.

Goa's unrestricted power demand is 250 MW, which is expected to reach 400 MW in next two years. But the state can wheel only upto 190 MW from the neighbouring states, supplied by the NTPC, admits Godinho.

As Goa's supply from Maharashtra is disrupted frequently due to overloading of 220 KV circuits at Kolhapur, the voltage now dips down to 150 KV and sometimes as low as 135 KV.

The government has now chalked out plans to improve the existing crisis situation within one year while the state also expects the centre to help overcome the crisis. Union power minister P Kumarmangalam is expected to visit the state in May, when these proposals would be put forward.

While Goa's first mini private power project of 50 MW is expected to be commissioned in four months, Godinho is also planning to ask for another 50 MW from the Kaiga Atomic Power Centre, 30 kms away from here, once it is commissioned by December '99.

"It will not help us in providing additional power supply but only in improving the existing power situation marginally", states Manohar Parrikar, the BJP legislator, who has been recently exposing several scandals in the power department.

Even the latest decision about steel industries, he alleges, is a move in direction of an underhand deal Godinho wants to struck with the steel manufacturers. "He is interested in making money and not in improving power situation in the state", he adds.

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