Umesh Dewan, Tribune News Service
Patiala, April 28. Notwithstanding the assurances given by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to bailout the State Power Corporation from debt, nothing concrete has been done so far.
During annual general meeting of the PSEB Engineers’ Association held almost a month ago in Patiala, the Chief Minister had said he would soon convene a meeting with representatives of the association and officials of the state government to chalk out a strategy as how to improve the deteriorating fiscal health of the Power Corporation, but till date there has been no progress in this regard.
Figures available with The Tribune reveal that for the past nearly six years, the Power Corporation is steadily witnessing losses to the tune of thousands of crores annually.
In 2006-07, the Power Corporation suffered a loss of Rs 1,800 crore and in 2007-08 it was Rs 1,611 crore. In 2008-09, the loss was Rs 1,292 crore, which went up to Rs 1,623 crore in 2009-10. For 2010-11, the annual loss was Rs 2,024 crore. Figures for 2011-12 are yet to be announced but it is confirmed that the corporation has suffered huge losses during last fiscal as well.
Senior officers of the two power utilities – Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) and Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited (PSTCL) – say the state government has turned a blind eye towards the Power Corporation, which is virtually on the verge of bankruptcy. Senior officers said there was an immediate need for a financial package, as sometime ago even banks had denied short-term loans to the PSPCL.
Documents procured by TNS revealed that technocrats working with the Power Corporation had themselves prepared a blueprint for the steps to be taken at the government level.
PSPCL director (finance) Subhash Arora was not available for comments as he was busy in a meeting. PSEB Engineers’ Association president HS Bedi said, “We have sought an appointment with the CM to discuss the matter.”