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State power boards need to wake up

A major problem staring at us in the face is the near bankruptcy of various state electricity boards. The rising gap between expenditure and revenue of most state electricity boards will only get bigger in the wake of the lackadaisical approach of state governments.

Passing on a freebie like free power to a particular section of the society is a shameful act. State electricity boards, which have accumulated losses upto several thousand crores of rupees, have not been able to keep pace with the rising demand of power. Interestingly, various banks have also stopped lending money to state boards on the pretext that lendings to state boards, which are fast becoming NPAs, have multiplied problems as the boards are running out of money to buy power.

Above all, the transmission losses, mostly due to power theft, are a big cause to worry. There are huge gaps in between the process of power generation to transmission to power billing to revenue collected. The loss at every stage is hitting India very hard. According to some estimates, more than 30% of power generated in the country is never paid for.

The slow steps taken by the government, compounded by problems in the coal sector are making the matters even worse because around 55 - 57% of India’s installed capacity is coal based. Many power plants in the country are reeling under shortage of coal supply, partly due to the inefficiency of major coal suppliers like Coal India.  This inefficiency has lead the power companies and power plants to look overseas for coal, which will in turn drain the nation’s money. Due to this shortage, many thermal power plants do not run at their full capacity. A dedicated coal supply management system to thermal power plants is definitely the need of the hour. The prevailing crisis needs the Prime Minister’s intervention.

Another failure of the government has been its non-innovative approach as far as alternative sources of power generation, like solar power and wind power, are concerned.

Lack of skilled staff and poor grid management system has complicated problems. It is high time the power sector is made viable otherwise, lack of capital could force power boards to start rationing power, which would be worse.



Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has rightly decided to record the amount of power being supplied and consumed by the agricultural tubewells free of cost (editorial “Metered largesse”, November 3). Electricity, being the highest grade of energy, has to be consumed judiciously. The current practice of giving free power to agricultural tubewells encourages installation of deeper tubewells with bigger motors without caring much for the efficiency of the system. If each tubewell is levied a nominal charge on the basis of its KYC (Know Your Client) record, it will help the PSPCL in not only preparing more accurate estimates of the subsidy bill of power but also in reducing power theft. Obviously, KYC record of the tubewells will require to be updated at intervals. The power thus saved can be supplied for domestic consumption during the harsh summer.

Prof YP GUPTA, Ludhiana

Sharing history

It is very unfortunate that the government of Pakistan has supinely yielded to the threat of a militant outfit and given up the laudable proposal of re-naming Shadman Chowk in Lahore as Bhagat Singh Chowk, where the heroic trio was executed. These freedom fighters fought against the British and kissed the gallows much before the idea of Pakistan germinated. They are common heroes of the Indian sub-continent. Such parochialism will only harm the proud cultural and historical heritage of the areas which now constitute Pakistan. A country can flourish only if it takes pride in its roots. History cannot be wished away to placate a few narrow-minded fanatics.


Privatising water

The attempt to privatise water tantamounts to violating the basic spirit of the Article 21 of Indian Constitution which includes the right of every citizen to water. It is quite surprising to know that the Delhi Jal Board spends Rs 15 for a litre of water but has decided to provide the same to a private company at Rs 1.50 per litre to sell it further to Delhi residents.

Mind-boggling electricity bills have already scared the people of Delhi out of their wits and now this dangerous move to hand over the natural resource like water to private players will make the battle of their survival quite grim.

Justice Rajindar Sachar (retd) in his article “Privatisation of water” (October 29) has correctly reminded the Delhi Government of its constitutional obligation towards people residing in the national capital.

Dr RAJ BAHADUR YADAV, Fatehabad (Haryana)

Senior citizen tag

Men from the Electricity Department just swooped down on my house, without any prior intimation or notice. They had orders of cutting my electricity connection. I was asked to get a draft of about Rs 9000 made as my bank cheque had bounced, which could not have happened as there was sufficient money. Trips to the SDO office and Sampark offices followed in vain.

At one point in time, they asked me to clear the entire amount spanning 4-months if I wanted to retain electricity. The payment date for the next bill actually was 15-16 days later, but they wanted the payment there and then. This kind of a treatment with a pensioner to pay up a bill of about Rs 20,000 is uncalled for. Is this the way to treat senior citizens?

Col O P LAMBA (retd), Chandigarh


Being 77-year old and a heart patient, I thought things would be slightly easier for me enjoying the senior citizen tag. But even well-educated citizens like doctors do not know how to treat an old person. On a visit to a community health centre in Shahpur, Kangra, and despite holding the yellow OPD slip, especially meant for senior citizens, the doctor did not bother to prioritise my case. The doctor rather gave annoying and unsavoury looks. In such circumstances, is it to be presumed that facilities announced for senior citizens are only on paper, rarely acted upon by people in power or the public in general?




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