Congress power game in Maharashtra
From Anil Nair in Mumbai
With the withdrawal of the free power scheme for farmers, the Democratic Front government in Maharashtra led by the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has lost all legitimacy to rule, according to the BJP. Shri Pramod Mahajan, general secretary of BJP, pointed out that the rollback on the monopoly cotton procurement scheme and issues like slum demolition which were mentioned in the state Congress-NCP manifesto during the last Assembly elections only means that the government has betrayed on all the election promises. ??Is there any promise left to be fulfilled by this government? The government has not been able to even distribute free textbooks as promised in the election manifesto,?? argued a BJP worker at the central office of the party at Nariman Point in Mumbai.
The Congress-NCP govern-ment had handed over zero electricity bills to the farmers and managed to sway the electorate in their favour. ??Only a few days ago the decision on the slum demolition in Mumbai was rolled back and thus the government had reneged on all the promises made during the elections?? Shri Mahajan told press reporters here on Wednesday. Leader of the Opposition and Shiv Sena leader Shri Narayan Rane also repeated the same demand for resignation of the government on the same grounds. ??The government does not have any moral right to continue in office??, he said.
Shri Rane also pointed out that the power purchased by Maharashtra from other states revealed the distress situation. ??Even Enron power is cheaper when compared to the power sold by other states to Maharashtra. We are paying Rs 5 per unit while Dabhol Power Project was supposed to have supplied power at Rs 4.40. This is what happens when the state does not have proper economic planning??, he said. The higher rates for power bought from other states will result in Maharashtra paying about Rs 800 crore more, according to Shri Rane.
All to revive Dabhol
Meanwhile, the state government has decided to give the Dabhol Power Project a new name after its resurrection when GE-Bechtel stake will be bought over. There are four names doing the rounds in the financial institutions which are involved in the revamp plan of DPC. The names are: Konkan Energy, West Coast Energy, Konkan Gas and Power and West Coast Gas and Power. The names have been sent to Registrar of Companies for approval.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh explained that a meeting with the Prime Minister was scheduled to discuss long-term and immediate remedy to the on-going power crisis in the state. The Centre agreed to supply 1210 MW of power to Maharashtra to cope with the unprecedented shortage. A team of Indian legal and financial experts appointed by the government has also finalised the plan to buy out the foreign stake holders in the Dabhol Power Project. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Gas Authority of Indian Ltd (GAIL) will start discussion with GE and Bechtel to purchase their equity. GE-Bechtel presently holds 85 per cent of the stake in DPC. MSEB will also be a partner in the deal.