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Lucknow, June 7 (IANS) Faced with an unprecedented power crisis, the Uttar Pradesh government Thursday decided to give a grace period of 6-18 months to developers who had signed MoUs with the erstwhile Mayawati government to set up power plants in the state but had failed to deliver.
The cabinet decision in this regard was taken keeping in mind that cancellation of these Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) could lead to accusations that the present Samajwadi Party (SP) government had acted in haste and had not given the developers enough chance to get coal linkages, Infrastructure and Industrial Development Commissioner (IIDC) Anil Kumar Gupta said.
The cabinet meeting Thursday was chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who himself holds the power portfolio. Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Shiv Pal Singh Yadav and Parliamentary Affairs and Urban Development Minister Mohd Azam Khan, among others, were also present in the meeting.
The cabinet deliberated the fate of the 10 MoUs signed by the previous Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government and discussions also revolved around confiscating the Rs.500 crore in security deposits that the government holds from these developers, but it decided that they be given a grace period to arrange coal linkages within 6-18 months, as asked for.
"The onus of arranging for coal linkages, land, water and environmental clearances were of the developers but in the past 18 months not much has happened on these projects and they largely are on paper only," Gupta said.
The MoUs signed for generating a total of 10,970 MW power have been assessed and, keeping in mind the yawning gap of power demand and generation, the government has gone ahead with the grace period, Gupta said.
Gupta, who had the chairman and managing director of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) Avanish Awasthi by his side, admitted that a serious power crisis was at hand and underlined that "everything possible" was being done to meet the shortfall of over 2,500 MW of power.
Out of the 10 MoUs signed by the erstwhile BSP government, nine are still on paper and their deadline is June 30, 2012. Except for one project where 90 MW electricity is being produced under 'co-generation' by a sugar-sector group, the MoUs were by and large defunct, Gupta said.
"I am not too very hopeful about any positive outcome of the grace period being given to the developers but we are trying every way out in the interest of the state," he added.
Incessant power cuts and outages in the state threaten to become a law and order situation in the state as at many places, irked by power cuts, people have stormed power stations and beaten up powermen.
Meanwhile, Awasthi told IANS that the 'cooling load' these days (power used by air-conditioners) was a very serious issue and was causing a big time power demand and the subsequent shortfall.