By Mohit Dubey
Lucknow, (IANS) With mercury climbing up and little relief in sight from the scorching sun, incessant power cuts and outages in Uttar Pradesh have added to the woes of people, threatening to unsettle the honeymoon of the two-month-old Akhilesh Yadav government.
Power officials admit the crisis has deepened and that “something needed to be done fast” if the summer season was to pass off peacefully.
Facing a shortfall in power supply to the tune of over 2,000 MW, state officials say the problem was largely due to the financial mess and debt they have inherited from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) regime.
With a whopping Rs.10,000 crore in outstanding dues, informed sources told IANS that the situation was set to worsen in days to come unless the chief minister’s office makes a direct intervention.
The BSP government in 2011 purchased power worth Rs.2,000 crore to handle the power crisis between July and September. But the bills were not cleared, leading to an additional burden for the Uttar Pradesh Power Corp Ltd (UPPCL), an official said.
UPPCL chairman and managing director Avanish Awasthi told IANS that the corporation was working towards clearing the outstanding payments and had so far been able to liquidate about 15 percent.
Awasthi added that outstanding payments against transformer supplies, which run into several hundred crores, were also being cleared in a phased manner.
The UP Transformer Industries Forum, an umbrella group of over 200 companies, had recently threatened to stop supply of transformers to the UPPCL.
The state power corporation is also trying to find ways to realise a whopping Rs.17,000 crore from defaulters.
In the last few days, recovery challans (RCs) worth Rs.395 crore have been issued to district magistrates for the recovery of dues, Avasthi said.
The defaulters are mainly in urban areas, officials say, adding that 110,000 consumers were issued notices for defaulting on their electricity bills.
The UPPCL has set a target of Rs.1,250 crore to be realised from defaulters in 2012-13.
UPPCL director (distribution) Jawahar Lal admits that there is a huge gap between demand and supply of power in Uttar Pradesh.
He said that attempts were on to streamline power shortage by acquiring extra power from grids and power exchanges.
The peak demand in UP during the summer season is about 12,000 MW, while the supply is just around 10,000 MW.
The state produces over 4,000 MW of power and the rest is procured from the centre, which includes overdrawing.
The state has been facing an unprecedented power crisis for the last one week, with unscheduled power cuts in villages ranging between 10 and 12 hours and around two-four hours in major cities.