Puducherry: Former Lok Sabha member from Puducherry Prof. M Ramadass on Thursday urged Union Minister for Power, new and Renewable Energy R K Singh to drop the move to privatize the Electricity Distribution Company (Discom) in the Union Territory and allow it to proceed in the present path of progress.
In a detailed letter to Mr Singh, a copy of which was released to media here, he gave several reasons to substantiate his demand, including the financial efficiency of the Electricity department, as measured by annual profit, which is reasonably good.
A study of recent revenue receipts and expenditure of Electricity Department for the last three years shows that out of three years, it has made profits in two years.
He also said that the aggregate profit for the three years works out to Rs.49.18 crore which goes to the exchequer as non-tax Revenue. Perhaps if the subsidies and supply of free electricity to agriculture are dispensed with, the Profit of the electricity department may be substantially higher and the eventuality of losses may disappear.
But such measures may go contrary to public policies of both the Central and State Governments.
Prof Ramadass urged the Minister that if he is not convinced with the facts he pointed out and wished to improve the performance of the department further, he may direct the Government of Puducherry to convert the government-owned Electricity department into a full-fledged Electricity Board, captioned as ‘Puducherry Electricity Board’ with autonomy and accountability.
The Government of Puducherry and the private sector could jointly own the share capital of this Board with the Government holding the majority share. An independent Regulatory Commission can regulate the performance.
The former MP said the government can introduce the scheme of Direct Benefit Transfer. Separation of major functions- distribution by the Board and regulation by the Commission can create a healthy situation and become a better alternative to Privatisation.
In fact, a Board is a golden mean between public and private ownership of electricity distribution, he said.
Prof.Ramadass sent the copy of his letter to the Secretary, Ministry of Home, Ministry of Power, New Delhi, Puducherry Lt.Governor, Chief Minister, Electricity Minister and Chief Secretary, among others.