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A look at the five states where elections have been held reveals a mixed bag in terms of their achievements in power, a key constituent of the bijli, sadak, paani troika and which is often used as a yardstick for how governments have delivered on basic infrastructure.
The smaller states generally seem to have done better on key measurable parameters such as augmenting capacity at the generation end and cutting down on technical and commercial losses on the distribution side. Even those that have done well seem to have focused their attention more on the upstream generation side, while the downstream distribution segment continues to do badly, with Delhi being the only exception.
On power generation capacity, Chhattisgarh has made significant progress in facilitating pit-head projects, aided by the local availability of coal resources.
Private generation projects of about 22,000 MW are under construction and expected to start during the current five-year plan period. Plants of about 10,000 MW with MoUs signed have had land acquired, water supply contracted and environment clearances granted, but further progress has slowed down due to non-availability of coal. Plus, the Chhattisgarh State Generation Company has commissioned a 500 MW unit at Korba and another of 1,000 MW at Marwa is in advanced stages of commissioning.
On the flip side, the 1,320 MW Bhaiyathan project, Chhattisgarh’s showcase, has been stuck in a morass for five years. Quotes had been invited in October 2008, and the project, which came with captive coal blocks in Korba, was awarded to Indiabulls for a benchmark tariff of 81 paise per unit, one of the lowest rates discovered through the tariff-based competitive bidding route. The mines, however, could not receive forest clearance and the project has been stuck since.
On rural electrification, the Centre has placed the performance of Chhattisgarh — specifically with respect to the implementation of the former’s flagship Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana —under the “unsatisfactory” category. Chhattisgarh has, in turn, blamed the central PSUs — NESCL, NHPC and PGCIL — that were appointed implementing agencies.
Also, Chhattisgarh has been reluctant to come to terms with the provisions of the Financial Restructuring Scheme for Power Distribution Companies, wherein 50 per cent of the outstanding short-term liabilities (STL) as on March 31, 2012, are to be taken over by the respective state governments. This amounts to about Rs 550 crore in the case of the Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Co. Ltd. The government