State energy minister Nitin Raut has promised free electricity to residential consumers if central government agrees to his demand of Rs10,000 crore grant for Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL).
Raut put forward this demand to Union power minister RK Singh during a national conference on Friday, but did not get any assurance.
The state energy minister also demanded low interest loans for MSEDCL as it was facing liquidity crunch due to reduced collections because of the lockdown. Raut also demanded one lakh subsidized solar agricultural pump sets for the state under Centre’s Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Uhaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM). Singh immediately agreed to this demand.
Raut also informed Singh about the state deciding to go 100% solar in coming years. The Union minister praised the state for this endeavour and asked others to emulate Maharashtra.
The minister told Singh that central government should not amend the Indian Electricity Act, 2003, without the consent of states. According to Raut, Centre is trying to encroach on state powers even though electricity is in the Concurrent List of the Indian Constitution. He charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with backdoor privatization of public sector undertakings and urged Singh not to allow the same to happen in power sector.
On flue gas desulphurises (FGDs), Raut said that other aspects of the pollution control units should also be taken into account before making their use compulsory. “FGD uses gypsum, disposal of which will become a headache for power plants. Therefore, cement factories should be set up near power plants with FGDs so that the gypsum could be used,” he told Singh.
The state minister rued that coal companies did not supply the contracted grade of coal to Mahagenco. “The coal Mahagenco gets is of lower grade than that was promised by the companies. Mahagenco should, therefore, be allowed to pay as per supplied grade of coal. This will lead to a lot of savings for the generation companies,” he said.
(With inputs from timesofindia)