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More power projects need of the hour in Tamil Nadu: Meenakshi Mahadevan

Updated: December 19, 2012, 4:33 PM IST
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More power projects need of the hour in Tamil Nadu: Meenakshi Mahadevan
Meenakshi Mahadevan of CNN-IBN joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the Tamil Nadu power crisis.

Tamil Nadu faces a severe power shortage problem. With the state reeling under regular and prolonged periods of power cuts, DMK supremo Karunanidhi has just launched a statewide agitation. Meenakshi Mahadevan of CNN-IBN joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on what the government's plans to do to tackle the situation and if a solution is in sight.

Q. It came in the local news papers that the surplus power from Delhi had gone to Kerala recently which was denied for TN when CM asked the center for it. Is this true? If so, why was it challenged by TN government against center after that? Asked by: Elavarasan

A. There are grid connectivity issues with Tamil Nadu.. I'm not very sure about Kerala getting the power from Delhi.. And as far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, it keeps writing letters to PM and asking for additional power... It is doing all that it can to get the power.

Q. Why in-spite of huge diaspora successful people TM as state is not progressing? What is root cause of rice and TV promises for election vote rather than development? Asked by: ketan

A. That's a million dollar question... Elections in TN are always more about freebies than development. Though this time, Jayalalithaa had spoken about the power crisis in every single campaign speech in each of the districts... and maybe she even got a few votes cos of that promise of improving the power situation. But clearly things haven't worked for her the way she planned.

Q. Are these power cuts genuinely because of power shortage or is this being done to force the initiation of Kudankulam project ? Asked by: Harish

A. Again, I have spoken about this before.. Kudankulam is not going to make the power situation in TN alright... There is a 4000 MW crunch.. And Kudankulam is going to give us just 500 MW.. The demand is growing every year whereas the installed generation capacity hasn't increased much.. That's the problem.. The need of the hour is more power projects and to fastrack pending projects.

Q. Hi Meenakshi, my hometown is Coimbatore, though I stay elsewhere currently, my parents tell me that the city reels under acute power cuts that go upto 14 hrs on certain days of the week. Do we have any estimate on the losses suffered by the SMEs (foundry, power loom, textiles etc) from the region over the last 2-3 years? Is there any solution available for the state? Asked by: Ganesen Viswanathan

A. Coimbatore is one of the most affected cities.. The last year has been particularly bad.. When I travelled there a few months back, I saw several small and medium sized handloom and manufacturing industries closed down because of not being able to buy a genset.. I was told production had come down by 60 percent in some cases.. The only solution is to fastrack the power projects that are nearing completion and start generating power at the earliest.

Q. What are the pending electricity projects in TN and when are these going to generate electricity? Asked by: Harish

A. The KNPP, the JV of NTPC and the TNEB which has a capacity of 500 MW, projects in north Chennai with a capacity of 600 MW, a 600 mw project in Mettur are all nearing completion... they should have all been in the same stage for the last few years.

Q. Why subsidies and more encouragement not given by the TN Govt for solar power plants? And getting land of 5acre for 1 MW is like uphill task. Still no action taken in this front too? Asked by: K Gowri Shankar

A. Its too early to talk about subsidies for solar power already... The CM has just about announced the project... It will be a while before it starts gathering momentum... Also, I guess the govt has stated that it is ready to give land for those who come up with solar power projects and also assured bank guarantee.

Q. Compared to 2011, has power crisis improved or worsened in 2012? How soon we can see 24*7 power in TN? Asked by: Kris

A. 24*7 is a distant dream.. We have to only look at gradually reducing the outages... 2012 has obviously been worse... the power cuts have increased enormously.. in some cases even as high as 18 hours.

Q. This is really serious issue...Somehow, I feel national media didn't do enough to cover the plight of rural citizens in Tamil Nadu. Do you agree? Asked by: Jagadish

A. I can't talk for others but i know i can talk for my channel and I have personally travelled to several places to do stories of Tamil Nadu is suffering because of the power crisis... I did stories on the industries, farmers, leather, handloom sector etc, residents all possible people I could feature.

Q. Doesn't it look like, all of it happened suddenly, the severe power cuts in recent months? Is there any political background to it? Asked by: Elavarasan

A. No.. this was always building up to what it is now. Over the last 10 years there has been no increase in the installed capacity. Also, in a bid to woo voters, successive governments never increased the tariffs. Thereby TNEB got into so much loss that banks refused to fund then any longer.. its all a combination of bad governance and vote bank politics..

Q. Why is it only cities other than Chennai has more power cuts, if Chennai also shares the cuts, probably other cities will have less power cuts!! Yes I know, it is our capital city, still why not share the burden. Asked by: Guna

A. It's a very legitimate question and probably that's what every person outside Chennai has on his mind too and I agree with you, Chennai should also share the burden if it helps and even mildly improving situation outside.

Q. In one of the answers you had said "nothing worked as she planned", I am not sure about the plan. However, being in power twice didn't she know the grid connectivity issue and the sources where the power comes to TN? How hard it is to get this information if she wants? Did she blatantly lie in her election campaign when she said she will solve this issue in three months, if she is elected as cm? Why didn't the govt submit a white paper on this issue if the central govt is not helping? What was the shortage when the last govt left and what is it today? It is ridiculous for one to say the govt is helpless unless they highlight how helpless they are, wouldn't you agree? Asked by: mmharsh

A. I agree... But again... I'm not even talking about the power that we need from other states... All I'm saying is that if we fastrack power projects inside Tamil Nadu that are almost complete, we could drastically improve the power situation... Let's do what we can first and then look for outside help!!

Q. What govt does is a million dollar question to the people of TN? What this govt does is to blame the previous regimes, thus blaming their own govts formed twice in the past. JOKE!!! DMK is too late in taking up this issue, talking about other organisations protesting? they would rather live in darkness than being in jail. Because this is the regime that ripped thousands of teachers and PWD workers off their jobs and sent them to jail. Iron fist is the least to say about the tolerance of public opinion in this regime. Small businesses like mine are almost breathing our last. If there is something that can be done, media organizations like CNN-IBN should focus more on this issue and bring up a national debate on the issue as this involves the central govt. as well. Happy to participate in a debate. Asked by: Mani

A. Power Crisis is a national issue.. Tamil Nadu is suffering I agree.. But so are several other states.. And yes, we must debate this... will think of something soon enough.

Q. Industrialisation of TN was rapid since 2006 (DMK in Power in State & Center)...Why they could not get these projects moving on Fast Track? Is it because of inefficiency/Lack of planning or other difficulties (like Land Acquisition, Coal supply etc..) Thanks. Asked by: Ramanathan

A. Its a combination of both! And add to that vote-bank politics.

Q. Will Kundakulam solve the present power crisis? Will we need more resources and stations to compliment the growth of the state? What is the outlook for the next 10-20years? Asked by: Kart

A. Kudankulam will not solve the crisis.. It can help a little yes.. but cannot solve.. We definitely need more power projects to solve the crisis..

First Published: December 19, 2012, 4:33 PM IST
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