Finance Dept Bails Out PDD To Avoid Plan Squeeze
SRINAGAR (ONS) - Jammu and Kashmir government has eventually deposited Rs 435 crore on account of accumulated unscheduled interchange (UI) power dues in NRUI pool account before November 30 deadline the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission had set with a warning that in the event of its failure to do so the union finance ministry would make it good from the central plan assistance for the state.
However, while releasing the amount, the states own finance department has asked the Power Development Department to ensure that no occasion arose in future to square up any such charges in future. Moreover, it is not clear whether the principal secretary, PDD, Sudhanshu Pandey, on whom the CERC had imposed a penalty of Rs one lakh before his central deputation, had paid the same.
With the liquidation of the UI charges of Rs 435 crore, the state government has cleared the outstanding dues which were due to some other states from whose share Jammu and Kashmir overdrawn the unscheduled power. The government has also asked the PDD to strictly adhere to the grade regulations to avoid such a situation in future.
Although the state finance department had earlier shown its reluctance to bail the PDD out of the embarrassing situation, it had to relent following the November 5 order of the CERC setting the November 30 deadline for the purpose with the warning of squeeze in the states plan allocation. At the same time, it told the PDD in no uncertain terms that it should not expect such bail out in future.
It may be recalled that the CERC had rejected the state governments earlier please to pay the UI dues of Rs 427.35 crore accumulated up to September 25, 2012 in five years and set the November 30 deadline to clear it.
In a 4-page order issued in New Delhi on November 5, 2012, in its suo moto petition No 40/2012, the CERC had also imposed a penalty of Rs one lakh on the principal secretary, PDD, for his failure to comply with earlier orders. He had been directed to deposit the penalty amount within one month from the date of issue of the order.
The Commission had heard the case titled Default in payment of Unscheduled Interchanges (UI) charges for the energy drawn in excess of the drawn schedule by PDD, J&K on September 27, 2012. In its November 5 order, it had referred to July 23, 2012 order in which it had observed that UI was a pool account and those overdrawing from the grid in excess of their schedule were required to pay at prescribed UI rates to the UI pool account.
On September 11, the CERC had asked J&K PDD to liquidate the dues by 25th of that month failing which its principal secretary would be liable to a personal penalty for noncompliance of orders. In its affidavit on September 24, the government had said it had paid Rs 29.50 crore each in June and July (total Rs 59 crore) out of Rs 637.185 crore and sought permission to pay the balance of Rs 578.185 crore along with interest in the next five years. The plea was based on the state Finance Departments inability to earmark such a huge amount in a short span conveyed in its letter of September 18.
During the hearing on July 23, the PDD had told the CERC that the state government had taken the matter very seriously and asked all technical officers manning SLDCs not to resort to over-drawl from the grid. However, the CERC said the outstanding dues payable by the J&K PDD were receivable by other constituent states. Because of this, it said, the Commission could not permit the default by state PDD at the cost of interest of other states.
Meanwhile, the CERC has suggested to the state to enter into long term agreements with power companies to avoid over drawl of energy under unscheduled interchange category in future. This could make additional electricity available to the state even on cheaper rates and more attractive terms, reports said. (With inputs from KNS)
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