CHANDIGARH,02.07.21-Confederation of Indian Industry organised a virtual interaction with Mr A Venu Prasad, Addl Chief Secretary - Taxation & Chairman & Managing Director of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, amid major power crisis in Punjab. The objective of the interaction was to find some practicable answers and sustainable solutions to this issue, so that the phenomena of power shortage & crippling outages do not become a regular feature.

The failure of private-run thermal plants to provide committed supply during the peak season has resulted in the power shortage. Otherwise, there were no cuts in the last two years, said, A Venu Prasad, MD, PSPCL. He added that delayed monsoon has caused severe power outages in the state, adding to the woes of people. Once rainfall comes, the situation will improve.

In view of the pandemic, work from home and air conditioning demand has increased significantly. Normally, we make arrangements up to 12500 MW but this year keeping these problems in view, we made arrangements for 13500 MW. If industry also operates the consumption will definitely cross 15500 MW or so. However, I am confident that rainfall will improve the situation. Our intention is to promote industry in the state. This regulation on industry is only for few days and we will lift it at the earliest.

Mr Bhavdeep Sardana, Chairman, CII Punjab said, “The state now must look at ways to encourage diversification to crops other than paddy, so that our dependence on Ground water and Power guzzling Motors is reduced. There is a need to strengthen the Transmission & Distribution infrastructure and cutting down on our T & D losses, so that the consumer who is paying is able to get reliable Power at competitive rates.”

He added, that the 2-day Power cut in a week is actually a lot to bear for Industry at this stage. The Government should balance out with other category consumers, so instead of 2 days the Government may reduce this to one day a week for Industry and Industry should also voluntarily consider reducing the timings for its official staff which are not engaged in critical shop floor operations and also reducing the usage of Power intensive devices installed in their offices.

Secondly, the state needs to look at diversifying its energy basket and not depend entirely on its current mix which is mostly Thermal, Hydro and Negligible renewable. Going forward and with Climate Change becoming a major policy factor, Renewable Power at competitive rates would be the key. Integration to the National grid wherein we are easily able to wheel in the Power from other parts at competitive rates will help a great deal in preventing such situation.

Other prominent industry leaders who participated in the discussions were Mr Neeraj Jain from Vardhman, Mr Rahul Ahuja from Rajnish Industries, Mrs Kamna Raj Aggarwalla from GDPA Fasteners - Jalandhar, Mr HS Cheema from Cheema Boilers, Mr Harpreet Nibber from Pritika Induastries, Mohali, among others.

Mr Amit Thapar, Vice Chairman, CII Punjab in his concluding remarks mentioned that industry realises the fact that this is an extraordinary situation which the state finds itself because of the deficient rains and rise in demand from the agriculture sector. He hoped that with the onset of monsoons and some strengthening of power distribution and transmission infrastructure by government we would be able to overcome this crisis very soon.