Controversy surrounds power project

| 23 September 1997 10:28 IST

Goa's first mini private power project is once again caught up in rough weather, thanks to the new deal struck by the ruling Congress party with the reliance Salgaoncar Co Ltd, a joint venture of Reliance Industries and Dhirubhai Ambani's Goan son-in-law Dattaraj Salgaoncar.

While most of the opposition parties in the state are also quite on the issue despite high tariff charged by the RSPL, the local BJP unit is bent upon exposing the government misdeeds in signing two consecutive PPAs, initially for open cycle and now the combined cycle.

The first PPA signed in January for a 40 MW project worth Rs 80 crore coming up at Sancoale, around 10 kms from port town of Vasco, has already been challenged in the high court by Dr J C Almeida, Goa's former chief secretary.

The same PPA has been now revised this month for combined cycle, generating additional 10 MW, which the RSPL would have a privilege to sell to the new industrial units privately. The step was taken based on centre's stand to supply naphtha only to the combined cycle projects.

"It's a fraud on the people of Goa", cries Manohar Parrikar, the BJP legislator and the state general secretary. While the Goan consumer is today paying 80 paise per unit, the tariff would be now raised to Rs 2.02 due to this mini project, when Goa does not require such a project, he states.

Though the coastal state is being allocated 406 MW of power from the NTPC, only 210 MW is being wheeled with 26 per cent T & D losses, rated highest in the country, due to inadequate and poor transmission system the state is having.

Instead of upgrading wheeling capacity, state power minister Mauvin Godinho however has managed to strike a deal with the RSPL for a 40 MW project, raising hue and cry over quality power and inadequate power supply.

He has even rejected the proposal of hiking only industrial tariff, while only two per cent additional power consumption is found in non-industrial sector in last eight years, the revenue with which Goa can upgrade its wheeling sub-station at Ponda to have 96 MW of more power at the NTPC rates.

Though the private project would supply its power only to the Mormugao taluka, which consists of the Mormugao port trust, industries like Zuari Agro chemicals, Goa shipyard and several MNCs at the Verna electronic city, rest of the 10 talukas will have to pay more than double tariff for the inferior power they are receiving today.

While raising all these issues, Parrikar has also exposed a foul play in signing the revised PPA with the RSPL when Tata Electric Co had quoted Rs 1.96 for combined cycle in Sancoale. "It's a mistake CRISIL has committed while preparing its report", claims Godinho, though the government affidavit submitted in the court substantiates Parrikar's contention.

With Godinho's announcement of awarding privatisation of transmission and distribution also to the RSPL, people however are here worried that reliance will slowly take over infrastructural sector of the tourist state in a phased manner. They have also quoted for Goa's biggest water treatment plant coming up in South Goa.

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