Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Rs 1770-crore power scam in MP?: NDTV exposé

Rubina Khan Shapoo, Saturday September 5, 2009, Bhopal: NDTV

The lack of electricity is perhaps the single biggest infrastructure hurdle in the country, something which affects the lives of millions of people across the country and economic development as well.

But if there is a shortage of power in the country, there is no shortage of power scams.

Lid was blown off a huge power scam in Madhya Pradesh, which ran into Rs 1770 crore.

NDTV has learnt that between 2005 and 2008, Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board bought 4,000 million units of power from various companies on a short-term purchase agreement, allegedly to pad up a shortfall in the peak hours of demand.

But only 11 per cent of that power was purchased through tenders. The rest was purchased directly without tenders from six private players, the biggest seller being Gujarat's Adani Group.

The heart of the scam -- while the power with tender cost 2.24 paisa, most of the power was bought without tender from private players at double the price.

And the whistleblower is P J Naaj Pande -- a consumer activist who has filed a complaint in Lokayukt, a quasi-judicial body.

"We filed a complaint with the Lokayukt. The matter is very sensitive and the Lokayukt has issued notices taking cognizance," said Pande, president, citizen consumer forum, Jabalpur.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has refused to comment on the issue.

The power shortage in Madhya Pradesh is severe and the electricity bills backbreaking. Those who get the supply from the State Electricity Board get it at about Rs 4 a unit, hardly knowing or understanding the slips and scams in the line of power.
A Rs 1770-crore power scam in MP?

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