Free electricity only if Centre approves demand of Rs 10,000 crore grant, says Nitin Raut

Free electricity only if Centre approves demand of Rs 10,000 crore grant, says Nitin Raut

Energy Minister of Maharashtra Nitin Raut has proposed the central government for approving his demand of a Rs 10,000 crore grant for the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL). He has assured free electricity services to all the consumers living in residences only if the Centre accepts his request.

During a national conference organised on Friday, the State energy minister raised his proposal of the grant approval to union power minister, RK Singh but unfortunately did not get any confirmation.

Raut also requested loans with low interest for the MSEDCL as it was going through a major liquidity crisis as a result of the fall in collections because of the COVID-19 induced lockdown. He also urged the Union power minister to provide one lakh subsidised solar agricultural pump sets to the state under the Central government's scheme of Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Udhaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM).

However, RK Singh approved these requests put forward by Raut.

Raut also made Singh aware of the state's plan of using 100 per cent solar power in the upcoming years. This initiative by Maharashtra was appreciated by Singh and he also urged others to follow the state for such a virtuous endeavour.

Raut also told Singh that the central government should discuss with all states and seek their opinion before amending the Indian Electricity Act, 2003. The Central government's attempt to intrude the powers of the state is unfair and prejudiced despite electricity being classified in the Concurrent List of the Constitution of India, according to Raut. He also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allowing privatisation of the public sector industries from the backdoor and also requested Singh not to permit such things in India's electricity sector.

The Minister also said that the use of fuel gas desulphurises (FGDs) should be made mandatory only after the other sides and parts of the pollution control units are taken into consideration. "FGD uses gypsum, disposal of which will become a headache for power plants. Therefore, cement factories should be set up near power plants with FGDs so that the gypsum could be used," Raut told Singh.

Raut repented about the failure of the coal companies to supply the contracted grade of coal to Mahagenco. "The coal Mahagenco gets is of lower grade than that was promised by the companies. Mahagenco should, therefore, be allowed to pay as per supplied grade of coal. This will lead to a lot of savings for the generation companies," he added.

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