The ruling BJP in Maharashtra Thursday said the government will purchase power from the Central grid as well as private companies to make up for the shortage which is to the tune of 3500 MW. The BJP also claimed the duration of power load-shedding in the state used to be 14 hours per day under the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government, of which the NCP was a constituent.
Earlier in the day, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the state was reeling under power shortfall of "3000 MW" and appealed to the government to declare the exact quantum of shortage. He had claimed the rural areas were facing power cuts every day because the coal supply meant for the state is being "diverted" to poll-bound Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Hitting back at the NCP, State unit BJP spokesperson Vishwas Pathak, who is also a consultant to state power minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule, said the current shortage is to the tune of 3,500 MW. "The state is purchasing power from the Central grid as well as from private power generation companies," Pathak said.
"I am ready to debate the issue of load-shedding with the NCP on any platform. When the NCP was in power (in alliance with the Congress), the load shedding used to be in force for 12-14 a day. We have brought down the duration significantly," he said. When asked about the NCP's claim that the state the government was not buying power from the Narmada hydro-electric power generation project under its quota, he said, "Though power is available there, its rates are higher than the ones offered by the Central grid and private companies. Why should we buy power at a higher cost?" Pathak said the NCP failed to bring electricity to the iconic Elephanta Caves island near Mumbai when in power, but the BJP government completed the task, which remained unfulfilled for the last 70 years, within four years of coming to power.
Pathak refuted the allegations that the government was selling generators of the Koradi vision (thermal) power generation plant. "We followed the procedure mentioned in the tender and sold the old power generation sets, many of which were not functioning properly. The entire decision was taken on the directions of the Central government," he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)