States need not get into discom debt rejig: Tata Power
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States need not get into discom debt rejig: Tata Power

Last Updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013, 18:23
 
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States need not get into discom debt rejig: Tata Power
New Delhi: Amid rising concerns about debt woes of power distribution companies, Tata Power has suggested that financial rejig of discoms should be done through regulatory commissions and not directly by state governments.

The country's largest private power producer Tata Power's viewpoint come against the backdrop of Centre's financial restructuring plan for discoms, under which half of the debt burden is to be shared by respective state governments.

"My point of view is that financial restructuring should be done through regulatory commissions and should not be done by the states.

"That means money should be made available, as a financial support, to regulators who should then set targets and against the achievement of those targets, allow the restructuring to happen," Tata Power Managing Director Anil Sardana told PTI.

Each state has its own State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC).

Power distribution companies' (discoms) debt burden, which stood at a staggering Rs 2.46 lakh crore at end of March 2012, is a major concern for the sector that is already grappling with severe fuel scarcity.

"... In sectors like power distribution and generation, government should not have any role to play because these are managed by the private sector," Sardana said.

"So, I feel that government as part of reform process and thinking from customer point of view (should) ensure that the arrangements are such that the government demands performance rather than being itself a subject of performance," he noted.

According to him, governments have a solid role to play and solid empowerment in its hand, where every key functionary in the government can demand performance. "That should be the focus," he added.

"Otherwise, their thinking becomes different as they are the people who are to deliver. Thinking becomes very restrictive," he noted.

To address the woes of discoms, the Power Ministry in October last year had mooted a financial restructuring plan where taking over 50 percent of short term liabilities of these utilities by respective state governments was a major proposal.

Currently, Tata Power has an installed generation capacity of about 7,700 MW.

"Discussions will focus on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest," Ministry of External Affairs said.

India and the European Union are bound by strong and friendly ties. India was amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with the European Economic Community.

"Sunday, EU is one of our largest trading partners, and an important source of technology and home to a large and influential Indian Diaspora. Both sides endeavour to develop common approaches to address new and emerging challenges," it said.

Sardana said companies still have the resilience to grow much more but opportunities are being lost "because there is no alignment (of interests between Centre and states)".

"If there is an alignment to say that we need the captive coal block and Coal India coal blocks to take off at once, then they will work together to ensure that things such as land acquisition will be done," he noted.

Besides fuel and discoms' woes, hurdles in land acquisition and environmental issues are also posing problems to many power projects.

Emphasising the need for a holistic approach, the Tata Power chief said that the time has come "where the voice of the customer becomes paramount for politicians, policymakers, corporate sector to respond".

Sardana said that competitive and reliable grid power are important for overall growth of the economy.

"Tomorrow, if people have to go back to the era where they have to burn oil on their own or go for captive generation, that is not going to get the economic lift. It is not going to give you the targets of growth rate we are aspiring for," he stressed.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013, 18:22


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