Non-release of APDRP fund, Orissa threatens to move court

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 16 (UNI) Orissa Energy Minister S N Patro today threatened to file a case against the Union government if it did not release fund to the state under the Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (APDRP).

The Minister said the Union government during a conference of Chief Ministers and Energy Ministers, convened by the Prime Minister, had agreed to provide an assistance of Rs 1000 crore in response to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's demand for Rs 3000 crore assistance under the APDRP about seven months back.

But to the utter dismay of the state government, the Centre had stated that the state was not eligible for APDRP assistance as it was not applicable to private distribution companies.

Mr Patro said the state had gone for privatisation of its power distribution in 1990s and entrusted its power distribution to four private companies - CESU, NESCO, WESCO and SOUTHCO - as per the direction of the Union government.

The Energy Minister said though the distribution network had been wholly privatised, the state government owned 49 per cent share through GRIDCO, a state public sector undertaking and continue to have control over the four private companies.

He said in 2005-06 the Union government had sanctioned Rs 526 crore under the APDRP to the state and released Rs 67 crore. After that no fund was released to the state.

Mr Patro said the state lost around Rs 200 crore during the Ttenth plan due to the new provision in APDRP. He said he had also written a letter to Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Sindhe with a request to take appropriate steps for release of fund to the state or its Public Sector Undertaking under APDRP.

He said if the Central government did not concede to the request, the state government would have no option but to move the Supreme Court in this regard.

UNI BD-DP SJC DB1657

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