Maharashtra officer objects to buying of costly power, quits ‘unheard’
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Mahagenco, the state-owned power generator that meets almost half of Maharashtra's demand for electricity, has cried foul that its units were asked to back down or temporarily suspend power supply on several occasions last two winters (2010 and 2011) and that the state's distribution company MahaVitaran instead bought more expensive power from private producers such as the Jindal's JSWPL and KSK Energy's Wardha Power. The NCP's Ajit Pawar had held the power portfolio November 2009 onwards till he resigned last month.
Subrat Ratho, a 1986-batch IAS officer who was at the helm of Mahagenco between February 2009 and July 2012, protested against the move of the state load despatch centre (SLDC), which falls under the purview of Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (MahaTransco) and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (better known as MahaVitaran) during the two years. On Friday, October 12, he left office, having sought voluntary retirement.
According to Mahagenco, the SLDC decisions not only resulted in losses for it, but the ultimate burden was passed on to consumers. Ratho had quantified revenue losses due to backing down of Mahagenco units from April 2010 to February 2011 at Rs 30.9 crore.
Both JSW and Wardha Power had short-term (less than one year) arrangements with MahaVitaran. They sold power to MahaVitaran at Rs 4.10 per unit, compared to Mahagenco's Rs 2.72 per unit till last year. Even after the tariff hike, Mahagenco sells power at a lower price of Rs 3.20 per unit.
The Chief Minister's Office was in the loop. In a letter to the government in February 24, 2012 — a copy of which is with The Indian Express — Ratho requested that the state must look into the matter as "the question of financial losses to Mahagenco and the consumers of MahaVitaran and the corresponding gain to private generators is involved".
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