powerAt a meeting last week, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan promised a “power cut-free state” to captains of industry. But a close look at the proposed power projects in the state, both in public and private sectors, raises doubts about this vision. Most private power projects in the state are held up for want of land and environmental clearances and delays in tying up coal linkages. Some of them have even encountered large-scale opposition from environmentalists and wild life activists. In the public sector, various capacity addition plans being implemented by the state will take at least two to three years to come on stream. Every year, power demand in Maharashtra increases by 5-7%. Officials with the various state power utilities admit that Maharashtra will face an uphill task to meet the rising demand given the state of private power projects. In April 2005, the state government signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with eight independent power producers (IPPs) for setting up power projects with an accumulated capacity of 12,500 mw. The IPPs were required to submit detailed project reports by September 2005, achieve financial closure by March 2006 and commission the projects by March 2009. But, four years down the line, the reality is hardly flattering. Only three of the eight IPPs have shown some positive progress on their projects. Of the remaining five, two have virtually backed out and the other three are either to identify suitable sites or the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) is yet to allot them land. Apart from the IPPs, the state also expects 18 other private power producers to set up plants. These proposals are at different stages of progress but they are also not free from problems. Also, none of these projects has an early deadline and almost all are looking at 2011-2013 to come on stream. So for now, the power cut free state of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan will remain a dream. Bureau report – NMTV News.

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