ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Girish Sant

Girish Sant, a leading energy sector analyst and the coordinator of the Prayas Energy Group - a Pune-based voluntary organisation working on policy analysis and advocacy in the energy sector - died in New Delhi on 2 February after a cardiac arrest. A tribute by his colleagues.

Some Good News in Power Sector

The successful bids for two ultra-mega power projects in Sasan and Mundra indicate that competitive bidding could be used to procure power at low rates and that the UMPPs may help reduce inefficiencies in coal operations. However, such projects should be undertaken with caution so as to minimise adverse social and environmental impacts and increasing dependence on coal.

Restarting Dabhol

The news that the Enron project at Dabhol will soon be revived is not an occasion for a sigh of relief. The unofficial information suggests that thanks to the shenanigans of unaccountable political bosses and the bureaucrats, the Indian taxpayers will end up paying significantly more for a 'second-hand' project as compared with an equivalent 'new' project. The elected representatives have repeatedly refused to grab the opportunities to escape from the Power Purchase Agreement, possibly in order to avoid an open scrutiny of the deal. If the political class escapes this time as well, there is the danger that this strategically critical project - after being cleaned up at huge public cost - would be given on a platter to a private player.

Godbole Committee on Enron Project

The report of the Godbole Committee appointed by the government of Maharashtra on the controversial Dabhol Power Project highlights how reckless greed and scant regard for 'public interest' amongst various decision-makers in the government and private corporations could lead to fooling and fleecing of consumers and the general public. It clearly demonstrates that the project was undesirable right from 1992. The project would be disastrous even if MSEB were to function in an efficient manner, agricultural tariff were to be doubled, and power demand were to grow at an unprecedented rate. The committee also recommends radical restructuring of the project so as to drastically reduce the tariff as well as the burden on MSEB by half (i e, by Rs 3,000 crore/year). The chairman and another member have also highlighted the inevitability of constituting a judicial commission of inquiry in order to free MSEB/GoM from the irrational contract and to ensure that those responsible for the 'governance failure' be made accountable. This paper discusses the observations and findings of the committee and its importance.

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