TN charges Centre with meting out `step-motherly`

The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu charged the UPA government with meting out "step-motherly treatment," on its demand for additional power and approvals for certain projects.

Chennai: The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu on Thursday charged the UPA government with meting out "step-motherly treatment," on its demand for additional power and approvals for certain projects.

"The Centre has turned a blind eye to our demand for allocation of 1000 mw of power. Our Central allocation of coal and gas has also been reduced," Electricity Minister Natham R Viswanathan told the state assembly.

Replying to the debate on grants for his department, he said Centre was dragging its feet on approving the Kundah Pumped storage hydel project,citing the Cauvery issue though Tamil Nadu would not draw water from the river.

"Centre is yet to approve the project citing the Cauvery River Authority (provisions). The fact is we are only going to draw water from a subsidiary (Kundah) of Cauvery`s subsidiary river, Bhavani and that too from Tamil Nadu side. This shows Centre`s step-motherly treatment towards the state," he said.

He again took a dig at the Centre when he said it was not concerned about setting up transmission lines which were required when the state purchased power from others states like Gujarat. Setting up of transmission lines came in the Central purview, he added.

With the state facing power shortage, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had directed expediting projects currently underway and was also working on new ones, he said.

"All efforts are being taken to commission the State/Joint Venture projects such as Mettur Thermal Power Stage III, North Chennai Thermal Power Project Stage II and TNEB-NTPC JV at Vallur at the earliest to tide over the present shortage," he said.

The power cut scenario was `temporary`, the minister said.
It was expected to add 4887 mw to the state grid through state, central and joint sectors before 2013 end and this included the much anticipated Kudankulam nuclear power project, he said.

Jayalalithaa had recently written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding allocation of the entire power from the plant`s two units each of which can generate 1000 mw.

Viswanathan said while the present installed capacity of the state was 10,364.5 mw, the average availability was 8500 mw with the demand ranging from 11,500-12,500 mw, leaving a demand-supply gap of 3000-4000 mw.

"This shortage is being managed by resorting to power purchase and restriction and control measures," he said.

Among the announcements for his department for 2012-13, he said Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) will provide one crore energy-efifcient CFL bulbs to replace conventional bulbs, at a cost of Rs 85 crore.

The move was expected to save 250 mw.