Even as the state reels under severe power shortage, new Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde used his powers to divert 2 million metric standard cubic metre per day(MMSMD) to the Ratnagiri power plant at Dabhol in Maharashtra from August 1.
This was done despite the state’s request to the Centre in May not to divert AP’s gas to the Ratnagiri plant.
Reacting to the move, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Friday requested prime minister Manmohan Singh, petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy and energy minister Veerappa Moily not to divert the gas.
The petroleum ministry has recently issued orders diverting 2 MMSMD of Reliance gas from the KG Basin to the Ratnagiri plant.
Of the 3.48 MMSMD total available gas, if 2 MMSMD is diverted the state will face a shortage of 400 MW of power daily.
The Centre is treating the Ratnagiri power plant on a par with a fertiliser factory and has decided to allocate more gas to it from the KG Basin.
Power plants have second priority after fertiliser factories. Knowing this, the chief minister requested the government not to divert gas from the KG Basin. He had made this request in May itself. However, government sources said, Shinde used his influence and diverted the gas to the power plant in his home state.
On coming to know of the diversion, Kiran Kumar Reddy wrote letters to the prime minister and others and directed minister Dharmana Prasada Rao and officials of power utilities to meet Jaipal Reddy personally to present the state’s case.
When Dharmana and other officials explained the situation to Jaipal Reddy and wanted to stop the orders, the Union minister advised them to make the request directly to the prime minister.
Chief secretary Minnie Mathew, who is in Delhi, met petroleum and energy officials and explained the power problems the State would face if the petroleum ministry’s orders were implemented. Though the petroleum minister hails from the state, the state government could not get more gas allocation.
It could not even stop diversion of the gas from the KG Basin though it had made a request to that effect way back in May.