Vantage point

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Maharashtra Power Crisis

There is a conspiracy theory brewing in my head. But to confirm it, I would like some info from readers of my blog who have been living in Pune during the last 3 years.

Three years back when I lived in Pune, the power situation was not this bad. There used to be load shedding once a week, but that was it. In three years, we have suddenly reached a stage where the capacity is just about 70% of the demand, requiring 4 hours of load shedding daily?

Has this crisis developed gradually? Did we go from load shedding of 7-hours-a-week to 28-hours-a-week in stages or in one quantum leap? Did the hours grow gradually during the last three years?

It was in December 2004 that the MSEB announced this large scale load shedding. But until then, to the best of my recollection of my weekend visits there, there was regular power supply. In fact, as we all would remember, both the Cong-NCP combine as well as the SS-BJP promised free power to farmers in the assembly election.

If the 3000 MW load shedding started in December, where was the power coming from before that?

And now that the whole state has vented its anger over this idiotic crisis, the only short-term solution in sight is apparently ENRON!!! Setting up new plants takes almost 5 years. The only immediate solution is ENRON which has a plant ready to produce, but has been shut down because of disputes. In fact, unless the Maharashtra government wants the state to decline into a West-Bengal-in-the-60s style rot, it will have to revive Enron.

This is where my conspiracy theory comes in. Is this power crisis mainly a driving force to revive Enron without committing political harakiri? It is obvious that Enron greased palms across party lines to set shop in India. the Congress and the Sena are both sinners. Anyone who would now try to Enron would automatically invite charges of corruption.

In this light (pardon the irony) the only way a government can revive Enron without committing political suicide is to portray that Enron is the only saviour. Is that what is happening?