Bargain hard

Updated: Mar 29 2005, 05:30am hrs
In the last few weeks, there has been a rene-wed surge of news reports reg-arding the Dabhol power project. This has created confusion and uncertainty even about some of the salient aspects of the possible solution.

In this atmosphere of confusion and uncertainty, three issues need to be highlighted.

First, is the question of accountability. In the matter of such economic, financial, and political import, the Godbole committee point-ed at the broad and consistent failure of governance. No government found it necessary to respond to the harsh remarks of the Godbole energy committee.

The other issue is that of clarity on the viability of the project in the changed situation, especially when new tariff rates are bandied about. The project cost will have to be halved for it to be revived. Further, one wonders how, in the current period of high oil prices, gas will be available below the price band of $4-4.5 per mmbtu.

The public needs to be informed about who will suffer And, how much Also, how much burden will the consumers of Maharashtra State Electricity Board and citizens of Maharashtra or India require to bear if this is to be achieved

Most disturbing has been the governments lenient attitude toward Bechtel and GE till now. Both the companies seem be unhappy with the reasonable compensation, which neither of them deserve, considering the fact that both were party to the fraud perpetrated by Enron. They still seem to be interested in that extra pound of flesh. It is not unreasonable if the citizens of India expect their government to deal with such corporates with an iron hand.

The writer is member, energy group, Prayas, a Pune-based research and advocacy group