POWER FAMINE // FOOTPRINTS OF TREACHERY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

As severe load shedding is torturing Orissa, we deem it proper to dwell upon the past that has given birth to the present predicament.

In the preceding posting, my attached Oriya article depicts the details of how the then chief minister Biju Patnaik had sabotaged the State by obliterating the Orissa State Electricity Board to amass personal wealth, as suggested by the shrewdly executed scam involving a foreign firm called K.P.M.G. Management Consultant.

The situation has become catastrophic in the ongoing regime of his son, as established by unprecedented power-cut in the rainy season at the moment.

I am giving yet another dose of my dealing with the subject in Oriya language, published then in my column SINGHABALOKANA for the people of Orissa to know the footprints of treachery that has overwhelmed the State.

The attached article is scanned from my book of the same title and carries the date of its first publication in Orissa’s mainstream major, The Sambad.

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POWER FAMINE: BIJU TO NAVEEN

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Load-shedding or power-cut: call it in any term; the tormenting reality is that, people in Bhubaneswar are now forced to go without electricity for two hours every day. In rural areas where grey-shedding is a regular feature, total load-shedding exceeds 5 hours a day in most of the villages. Our earlier fear that Orissa is heading towards power famine is coming true.

In these pages of ORISSA MATTERS, we have several in-depth discussions on possible power famine with stress on how to avoid the debacle. But Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has never bothered about what we have said.

Now as the reality has so severely hit the State, it is necessary for the people of Orissa to know who has dragged them into this labyrinth of load-shedding.

To facilitate more and more people of Orissa understand the syndrome, I will put below one of my earlier discussions in Oriya as published in my column SINGHABALOKANA in Sambad a decade ago, portending the debacle of today.

They are scanned from my book of the same title. In the article I am to insert below, I have shown how for dubious reasons the then chief minister (father of the present CM) Biju Patnaik had dismantled the well-equipped and highly competent Orissa State Electricity Board and, hand-in-glove with the world capitalist syndicate, how had he privatized electricity in total disregard to the interest of Orissa. In this article a scam involving Biju was also exposed.

Peruse the article and know the saboteurs.

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Orissa’s Energy Minister tries to be honest to cover up his Chief’s negligence to power generation

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa’s energy minister Pranab Prakash Das has confessed that the people are bound to suffer severe load-shedding as the State is “facing a shortfall of 500-550 MW”, as hydro power generation has drastically declined due to inadequate rainfall that has reduced the required level of water in the reservoirs.

As against normal quantum of 2085 MW, generation has fallen below 1750 MW, as on today, the minister has said.

In confessing the truth of decline in power generation, the power minister has acted honest; but thereby, he has just tried to cover up the harm to power sector caused by chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s habitual nonchalance.

I will begin with the present energy secretary Suresh Mahapatra.

He was the chairman of Orissa Power Transmission Corporation in 2006. On February 21, 2006, he had informed the Energy Secretary of the Government of Orissa in his D.O. No. R&T-Regn- 22/2005 – 896 that unless immediate steps for generation of at least 9000MW are taken, it may be impossible to avoid power-cut from the next year, i.e. 2007. At that time, as against 3500MW capacity, generation was around 1800MW.

Instead of steps for full utilization of generation capacity and/or enhancement of generation capacity, Naveen Patnaik’s blind priority on Industry had inked MoUs with 44 major Steel Industries and 3 major Alumina Industries that were to consume at least 5717MW more by 2009-10.

Previewing the days to come, the then Chairman of Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission D.C.Sahu had addressed D.O.No.CHP/2005/812 on May 20, 2005 to Energy Secretary R.N.Bahidar that by 2006-07, power supply to domestic and industrial consumers would be unmanageable unless immediate steps are taken for more  generation as envisaged under Vision 2010.

Naveen Patnaik’s single-minded priority on serving the interest of POSCO, Vedanta et al has not allowed the necessary time to administration to implement vision 2010. Exactly as apprehended, power-cut has menacingly come.

People of this State, who are now brutally pushed into total disadvantage due to power-cuts, have the entitlement to have the explanation from Naveen Patnaik as to why load-shedding has become unavoidable; and why fall in reservoir level has hit Orissa.

Whether or not hijacking of river water by industries is responsible for fall of water level must be informed to the people with verifiable details.

The father had initiated the debacle in power sector by shattering the well equipped OSEB and the cadre of its engineers; the son has enhanced the debacle by ignoring all advices for higher generation and lower pilferage.

People need answer from the chief minister.

Stop Publicity Stunts; Confess Failure; Let People Play Their Part in Power Sector Again

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Ever since Biju Patnaik in his last term as Chief Minister decided to kill the people’s stake in power sector and took steps to destroy the Orissa State Electricity Board to execute a dastardly scam by handing over Orissa’s electricity world to foreign firms like AES and Price Water House, which eventually has helped Indian mafia to grab the field to use as their grazing ground, this state of surplus electricity has continuously been dragged into the labyrinth of power shortage. In his son’s regime, the situation has taken a turn towards the worse as during the last decade not a single unit production capacity has been added to the generation network.

We have exposed the malady in details in these pages that have attracted massive attention. So instead of repeating how the administration has erred, this essay would like to react to the false propaganda the administration has started to make about tackling the unbearable shortage through power banking.

Mainstream Print media, The Samaj, in a report from Tathya source datelined April 16, has given front page publicity to a propaganda that Orissa has overcome massive power-cut situation because of GRIDCO chief C.J.Venugopal’s timely step to draw 300 MW through power banking out of which 200 MW power is being readily drawn and the rest 100 MW would soon be drawn. The said news item has gone up to saying that because of this intelligent step, when the current rate of energy is 8 to 10.5 INR in the market, Orissa is getting it in quite a lesser rate. Falsity of the later claim having been dealt with along with data in these pages earlier, we deem it proper to examine the post-power-banking power scenario for the period from April 1 to April 15, the date of generation of the propaganda through Tathya to see whether or not the energy managers have told the truth.

We have taken the input from eminent electrical engineers and power advisors who in the past and at the moment have been active in and are privy to energy administration

Our investigation reveals that the requirement of energy in Orissa as per the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is 21112 MU in 2009-10 which in the last year, i.e. in 2008-09 was 20519 MU. Against this requirement, availability of energy last year was 20214 MU where as this year it is 20926 MU. On the other hand, last year there was an average demand of 3062 MW which was met with 2987 MW. This year the Demand is 3491 MW, but it is to be met with 2700 MW in the maximum. This difference between demand and supply is devastating to consumers.

If the Government through Venugopal wants us to believe that draw of 300 MW through power banking meets the demand, then it must be meaning the last year’s demand, not of the current year. Obviously our power sector is being managed by persons who it seems are experts in misleading.

However, the reality of availability through power banking as propagated is 200 MW with effect from April 1. Hence taking 31 March 2010 as the Benchmark Day (BD), let us see how Orissa has benefited from power banking. The data we shall use is based on SLDC data available in the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) website.

By virtue of power banking, Orissa received from the Power Trading Corporation India (PTC) and NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVNL) 140 MW on April 1, out of which Orissa lost 50 MW share from Farakka STPS; thus the net receipt was 90 MW, not 200MW as claimed.

When on the BD. i.e. 31 March 2010, the average demand was 2125 MW; rise of mercury enhanced the demand to 2189 MW on April 1, causing an increase of 64 MW in demand. Hence, the benefit after power banking was a meager 26 MW even though the draw on papers was 140 MW that day. This is the reality.

Let us see the pictures of the next days till April 15.

April 2: As heat increased, demand increased to 2215 MW which was 90 MW higher than that of the BD. So the net receipt of 90 MW from Banking was of no surplus value.

April 3: Average demand was 2202MW showing increase of 77 MW from BD setting the benefit at meager 13 MW.

April 4: This day being a Sunday, the demand was a bit less, 2142 MW which was 17 MW higher than that of the BD. Hence on this day the benefit was 73 MW.

But since this day, everyday the power banking benefit has stayed far behind the need as the data below would show.

April 5: The demand was 2264, registering an increase of 139 MW from the BD. As against the net receipt of 90 MW, shortfall was 49 MW.

April 6: The demand was 2255 MW which was higher to demand of the BD by 130 MW. Thus the banking was deficit by 40 MW.

April 7: This day Orissa received 90 MW through power banking as indicated above; but lost 50 MW share from Farakka STPS, thus drawing only 40 MW. When demand was 2270 indicating an increase of 145 MW in demand than that of the BD, it is clear that the power banking was inadequate to address the demand by 105 MW.

April 8: Demand was 2227 MW which was higher to BD demand by 152 MW. Thus the banking marked a deficit of 112 MW.

April 9: Demand was 2218 MW showing an increase of 93 MW that indicated 53MW in minus.

April 10: Demand was 2236 MW, higher to BD demand by 111 MW. Thus the deficit was 71 MW.

April 11: Demand was 2214 MW. This being 89 MW more than the BD demand, the banking benefit was deficient by 49 MW.

April 12: Demand was 2202 MW, which was more than the BD demand by 77 MW. But the net receipt being 40MW, the benefit shorter by 37 MW.

April 13: Demand was 2237 MW showing an increase of 112 MW from BD demand. Thus the deficit was 72 MW.

April 14: Demand was 2266 MW which was higher than BD demand by 141 MW setting the deficit at 101 MW.

April 15: The demand was 2246 MW, indicating an increase of 121 MW from that of BD. This meant that there was a deficit of 81 MW on that day.

When the data above establish that the Tathya news carried by The Samaj is contrary to actual, it is also established that the private Companies, hand-in-glove with Nabin Patnaik government, have contravened OERC directions and have been harassing the consumers by adopting unfair means like unauthorized power-cuts and undeclared brownouts to cover up the deficits.

According to a well-known referral expert in power sector, NVVNL has further reduced from 16 April.2010 a quantum of 25 MW towards supply to Orissa. Hence receipt of Orissa through Power Banking is only 70 MW and after accounting for loss of 50 MW share from Farraka STPS, the net receipt of Orissa is only 20 MW at present, which is only one-tenth of the publicized 200 MW.

When Orissa is sizzling with higher temperature in 80% of its geographical area this summer, false propaganda about efficient power management is most hazardous and harmful. It is a grave offense against the people.

It is better the authorities desist from trading lies and tell the truth. Chief minister Navin Patnaik should confess his failure in removing the chaos in power sector and allow people to take a fresh decision on quality of his administration. It is time to think afresh and to restore people’s right to play their part in the power sector. The so-called reform having totally failed, Biju should be censored posthumously and GRIDCO must no more be the place of false propagandists’ pleasure hunt.

POWER PROBLEM: WHAT THE HOUSE COMMITTEE COULD NOT SEE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“Although Odisha is the first state to go for power sector reforms and is the only state where both transmission and distribution of electricity are privatized, yet, the achievements of the state availing uniform and qualitative power sector for a common man is not significant”, observes the Orissa Legislative Assembly Standing Committee formed to oversee the Department of Energy.

But it seems the House Committee is not aware of how the reform programme has been sabotaged.

In my column in Orissa’s mainstream broadsheet ‘Sambad’ I had exposed how payola had played a propellant role in Biju Patnaik’s decision to privatize power sector of Orissa, with specific stress on shenanigans involving AES and the foreign pack of advisors. In post Biju era, I had also exposed the rampant corruption, a part of which was being played by one Mahendra Kumar, the then Director, Commerce. Following the exposure, Mahendra Kumar had to go, but the anti-people activities of the new set-up went on, sufficiently as was being greased the relevant joints in the State secretariat.

Mr. Bishnu Das, Chairman of the Committee has not hesitated to transmit to the public that the Government should realize the futility of privatization and get rid of the private Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) in order to ward off anarchy in power sector. This idea may not stand the test on the matrix of Electricity Act, 2003. But there is no problem for the Standing Committee to probe and for the Government to act in the matter of loss caused to the State by way of subterfuge following privatization.

On 3rd of this month, AES has signed an MoU with Government of Chhatisgarh for setting up of a coal fired 1000 MW Project with an investment of Rs.5400 crores through AES India Pvt. Ltd. on Build, Own and Operate (BOO) basis. Upon operation, the proposed plant of AES will work as a Merchant Plant and would supply power to the power deficit States of the country.

In the light of observations of an astute power engineer, this is a death blow to Govt. of Orissa.

AES India holds 49% share in Ib Thermal Power Station of Orissa Power Generation Corporation along with management control since January 1999. It had earlier agreed to undertake installation of Unit-3 and 4 of ITPS at an estimated cost of Rs.1706 crore. By performing ‘Bhumi Puja’ for the purpose on 23rd August, 2004 at the request of AES India Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik tried to renew its credibility. Had he shown equal zeal for recovery of the dues claimed against AES, the GRIDCO could have gained a sum of Rs.645 crores. It is worth noting that AES India has already reaped the Dividend amount of Rs.449.22 crores by the FY 2004-05 from ITPS, whereas purchasing 51% of CESCO in September 1999, it had fled away on 27.08.2001, in the process, cheating GRIDCO of Rs.645 crores against which the later has lodged a claim on 08.02.2003. It is sad that the State Government does not show appropriate interest to defeat AES mischief.

This Company had earlier signed an M.O.U. with Govt. of Orissa and OSEB in 1992 for installation of 2×250 MW Thermal Plant at Ib Thermal Power Station. It has obtained all statutory clearances under First Track Power Project Scheme and concluded amended PPA with GRIDCO as successor to OSEB on 31.03.1997 for an investment of Rs.2369 crores. But this project has deliberately been kept dormant.

Look at it from any angle as you like, it would transpire that AES India is playing hide and seek with the people of Orissa. In such a situation a responsible and alert Government should have taken over the 49% share of OPGC from AES and should have assigned the Project to other developers showing Expression of Interest (EOI). But, by conducting ‘Bhumi Puja’, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has indicated that he can side with fraudulent players, happen what may to the simple people of Orissa.

The Standing Committee has legitimate scope to read this mischief. Let us hope against hope that it acts.

However, AES India is not by itself the entirety of the fraud that has affected Orissa’s power sector. A section of IAS officers and their cronies in sensitive places of administration have forced Orissa into a condition of recurring loss, in order only keep alive a scope for AES to benefit from power crisis. Let us go to the point.

In 1997, NTPC requested GRIDCO to avail 700 MW power at the rate of 35% of 2000 MW from their Talcher Super Thermal Power Project Stage-II (TSTPS Stage-II) at Kaniha near Talcher.

Senior IAS officer M.Y.Rao was then the CMD of GRIDCO. He constituted a committee comprising the aforesaid Mahendra Kumar, the then Director (Commercial), Sri Rama Ballav Mishra, the then Director (Finance) and Sri B.C. Jena, the then Director (Transmission and Distribution) of GRIDCO, who is presently a Member of Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission, to decide whether GRIDCO should avail this Power.

This Committee decided not to avail the 700 MW power offered by NTPC under the plea that the exact Tariff and exact Schedule date of completion of NTPC Units were not available.

Whether the plea was cooked up keeping in mind the interest of Private Developers like AES and KPCL etc. or not can be ascertained by a body like the Standing Committee of the Assembly.

But, it needs no specialization to understand that the above recommendation of the Committee debarred Orissa from gaining from the NTPC offer.

As the recommendation was adopted by Rao, GRIDCO had to intimate NTPC that it was not to avail 700 MW Power from TSTPS Stage-II. Consequent upon this, NTPC allotted this 35% (700 MW) power to Southern Region constituents like Andhra, Tamilnadu, Karnatak etc.on the premise of Infirm power at the rate of 50 Paisa/KWh and Commercial power at the rate of 160 P/KWh.

Date wise all the four Units of TSTPS Stage-II beginning from Unit-III entered into commercial operation with effect from 01 Aug 2003, 01 March 2004, 01 November 2004 and 01 Aug.2005 respectively.

It means, due to the suicidal recommendation of the Committee, Orissa lost procurement of power to the tune of 2453 MU (500 MW x 0.8 x 0.35 x 8.76 x 2) during 2003-05 at the cost of 50 P/KWh. If it would have traded the same infirm power, it would have done so at a prevailing market rate of 250 P/KWh. Money wise, it would have given a gain worth Rs.490 Crores to GRIDCO. Similarly, after commercial operation, Orissa would have gained 300 Paise on each Unit (Trading value 460 P/Unit / Cost of generation 160 P./Unit).

A mere mathematical calculation (700×0.8×8.76×3) suffices to say that the financial loss to Orissa on account of the recommendation of the Committee constituted by Rao and the cold calculated decision by the two IAS officers at the helm of affairs, one at GRIDCO and the other in the department of energy in Orissa’s Secretariat rejecting the offer of NTPC is not less than Rs.1470 Crores per annum.

The loss to our State is not limited to the above evidence. The lackadaisical manner in which the State is now run has been playing havoc with the power sector.

It is the policy of Govt. of India that the home State should get 12% free Hydel power from the Projects undertaken by Central Government Power Companies like NHPC, NEEPCO etc. Similarly, 10% of thermal power is given as home State quota from all NTPC Stations located in that State.

Orissa is in such hands that the Government is not demanding or claiming the legitimate share of 10% of generated power as Home State Quota from TSTPS Stage-II which is located in Orissa and thereby is loosing Rs.420 Crores over 200 MW annually (calculated at 200×0.8×8.76×3) considering the prevalent trading price of 460 P/Unit.

Standing Committee of the Assembly could not see this scenario.

But it would be somewhat rectifying the mistake if the Assembly, while taking up energy budget, pays attention to the precarious position of power that is now menacingly threatening Orissa.

Although endowed with 23% of the Country’s power grade coal and 10% of annual surface water flow, Orissa will fall far short of the minimum requirement of power in 2007. I have already shown reasons to say that it portends a power-famine from the year 2009 onwards.

If the Assembly can compel the Government to constitute a Task Force in the pattern of War Council functioning during war time to go for and start immediately 3 to 4 Super and Mega Thermal Power Projects and at least one Ultra Mega Thermal Project (4000 MW), the dark days could be avoided.

But can it? Are there enough members in the treasury bench to drag out their Government from its bureaucratic cocoon into the world of activities, in interest of the people?

I leave the answer to whosoever watches the Assembly when energy demand is taken up.

POWER CUT A MUST IF GOVERNMENT FAILS TO WAKE UP

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

True, till date Orissa is trading surplus power through licensed power traders like Power Trading Corporation of India Ltd (PTCL) and NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVNL), howsoever small be the quantity.

But the scenario will soon change and power cut would be an unavoidable must from next year. I have hinted out, how by the end of this decade, we will fall a prey to power famine, if, without prioritizing power generation, the current idiocy of distribution of mines to private industries, which, when set up, would sure need mega consumption of power, continues. I have also shown in that article, based on official calculation, how 3394MW of power would be necessary to energize 46000 villages of Orissa under Natioal Rural Electrification Policies by 2009 over and above the 4391MW minimum projected need of Industries.

The Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission, empowered under Section 86(20(IV) of Electricity Act, 2003 to advise the State Government on urgent issues concerning generation, transmission, distribution and trading of electricity, had warned the State Government of serious dislocation in power sector unless timely actions are taken.

In D.O. letter No.CHP/2005/812 of May 20, 2005 addressed to R. N. Bohidar, Additional Chief Secretary-cum-Principal Secretary to Government in the department of Energy, D.C.Sahoo, Chairman of the Commission, had noted, From the analysis of power projections, it is revealed that from 2007-08 onwards, even with good monsoon and full hydro availability, the state will face deficit in power supply unless additional capacity is generated to meet the demand. As you are aware, a green field project for thermal capacity addition will take about 4/5 years, whereas extension in existing power stations, where land and other infrastructural facilities are available, the time span may vary from 30 months to 36 months. We have barely three years left at our disposal to address the issue of new generation capacity addition.

Thus saying, the OERC Chairman had cautioned the Government that In the event of monsoon failure, the power availability will drastically go down leading to shortage of power triggering load shedding. There is every likelihood of redistribution of Central Sector power already allocated to the State/GRIDCO. Such an apprehension is borne out of the fact that a majority of States are plagued by huge deficit of power. The Government of India may reduce the allocation of power to our State and reallocate it to some of the power deficit States. This unwarranted measure, as and when comes through, needs to be resisted tooth and nail at the appropriate level, he had stressed.

Whether the Government that could not resist stealing away of the National Institute of Science by Bengalis from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata can resist diversion of power to other States at the time of need is a question the future may answer; but the OERC Chairman did not stop at this point. As the guardian of power management in Orissa, he suggested the following urgent steps to be taken to meet the critical situation as mentioned above.

Firstly he had advised To start construction of Unit 3 and 4 in Ib Valley power station area where land and infrastructural facilities are available. Secondly he had asked the Government to issue notice to M/s Kalinga Power Corporation, an IPP to start construction of the two 250MW units of their project at Duburi for which land and other facilities are available. Thirdly, the Government must Issue notice also to M/s AES who are supposed to construct Unit 5 & 6 as an IPP to take urgent steps in that regard, he had underlined. The OERC chiefs further advice was Urge upon CPPs like NALCO, ICCL, RSP etc to augment capacity on a time bound basis.

Emphasizing on implementation of Electricity Vision 2010 prepared by the State Government, the OERC Chairman had asked the Government to persuade and cajole the developers to commence construction activities in already identified areas like Hirma, Naraj as envisaged n Fuel Map of India / Draft Electricity Plan.

Focusing on inadequacy of transmission capacity and need to complete the ongoing projects, the OERC Chief had noted, The ongoing transmission projects financed through World Bank need to be completed on war footing basis to ensure steady power supply to various parts of the State. Observing that There is widespread interruption, low voltage, mainly in western part of the State, he had said that this was due to non-completion of 220 KV Bhubaneswar-Burla line, Burla-Bolangir 220 KV line including Sub-Stations. Besides, he had pointed out, Evacuation of power from Ib has been affected due to non-completion of 400 KV line from Ib to Meramundali. He had warned the Government that power supply to industries in Duburi will be seriously jeopardized unless the Meramundali-Duburi 400 KV line along with 400 KV sub-station at Duburi is completed soon. Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Khurda and Paradeep will also face power supply problem because of delay in completion of 400 KV sub-station works at Meramundali and Mendhasal and non-completion of Narendrapur-Chandaka 220 KV line and Duburi-Paradeep 220 KV line.

But the State has fallen in such hands, that the timely warning and advices of OERC went unheeded to.

If the Government fails to wake up, it is impossible to avoid power cuts.

NAVEEN’S AFFAIR WITH JINDAL STRIPS: GOVT. STRIPPED LAYER BY LAYER BY ORISSA HIGH COURT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Government cannot act in a manner, which would benefit a private party at the cost of the State. This mandate was issued long back in 1980 by the Supreme Court of India, in M/s Kasturi Lal v.State of J&K, reported in AIR 1980 SC 1992. The State Government, under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has been stripped layer by layer by the Orissa High Court for having tried to contravene this very mandate in order only to serve the interest of a private industrial house.

The Government had done everything to help Jindal Strips Ltd, a private concern, plunder away 500.26 hectares of Orissa’s Chromite deposit at Tangarpada in the district of Dhenkanal, through the backdoor. State owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDCOL) was used as a pawn by people in power in this respect, which the High Court has frustrated.

A cursory look into the matter reveals that people holding high office had taken such steps that M/s Jindal Strips Ltd (hereinafter called Jindal) could have bagged 89 per cent equity in Tangarpada Chrome Mines under occupancy of IDCOL as its partner in a Joint Venture Project besides a spectacular gain of 2500 Acres of land in a highly industrial belt as well as cash to the recurring tune of 20 thousand crores through exemption of taxes. Naveen Patnaik’s Government had unhesitatingly approved this anti-people plan.
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