With the diversion of gas meant for the power-starved Andhra Pradesh to Maharashtra becoming a prestige issue, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is leaving for Dehi on Monday to pour out the state’s power woes to prime minister Manmohan Singh.
What has hurt the chief minister more is that the diversion of the gas took place at a time when Union petroleum minister S Jaipal Reddy is representing Andhra Pradesh in the cabinet.
With the central government’s decision to divert 2 million metric standard cubic meter per day (MMSCMD) gas from the Krishna-Godavari Basin to the Ratnagiri power plant in Maharashtra, another 400 mw capacity of gas-based power plant will have to lie idle.
This will tanslate into a loss of 10 million units of power. As of now, the gap between demand and supply is 46 million units which will go up to 56 million units.
Though the chief minister dashed off a letter to the prime minister and chief secretary Minnie Mathew met Union petroleum officials there has been no decision yet in favour of the state. The decision to divert the K-G Basin gas to Ratnagiri was taken by an empowered group of ministers and the petroleum minister expressed his inability to revert the decision since it was beyond him. Jaipal Reddy requested the state government to take up up the issue directly with the prime minister but it looked as though he was washing his hands of his responsibility at a time when the state is facing an acute shortage of power.
Amidst the gradual worsening of the situation, the chief minister reviewed the power situation with officials at his camp office on Sunday. Sources said that the chief minister decided to write a fresh letter to the prime minister requesting him to bail out the State from the power crisis. The chief minister will meet the prime minister on Monday and seek restoration of the volume of gas diverted.
The chief minister has decided to meet the prime minister along with Union ministers and MPs from the state. There is a feeling in the political circles that though the petroleum minister hails from the state he has failed to do justice to the state. The MPs too were unable to present the state’s case effectively at the central level. In this background, the chief minister reportedly wanted the Union ministers and MPs to come along with him to meet the prime minister to make a collective demand for additional gas supply to the state.
It may be recalled that the gas-based power projects were getting around 7 MMSCMD gas against the requirement of around 12 MMSCMD. The chief minister will request the prime minister to allocate sufficient gas either from ONGC or RLNG. The ONGC gas is available at Rs 2.10 per unit and the RLNG gas at Rs 9.06 per unit.