Energy

This communist is up to no good again-

UPA’s record on infrastructure is actually a record of public-private partnerships (PPP) and so-called reforms to foster fly-by-night private players like Maytas & Sandur Power Company. The physical outcome vis-a-vis the commitments speaks for itself if one looks at the energy sector.

[…]

Non-availability of energy sources like coal and natural gas has accentuated power shortage in the country. Natural gas production has remained stagnant. Instead of augmenting coal production, the UPA government has handed over 190 coal blocks to some dubious private companies. Similarly, crude oil production has been hovering around 32 to 33 million tonnes per year since 2004 in spite of much trumpeted private participation through the New Exploration Licensing Policy.

Over-dependence on the PPP, which is nothing but public investment and private ownership, coupled with inadequate public investment and plan outlay by the UPA government, has led to the present crisis in infrastructure.

Such blatant propaganda (I always use the word as a slur; K.M. argues – his argument is based on fact – that dictionaries do not define the word in a negative sense, and that there are other reasons behind our “redefinition”) can only come from a card carrying communist. A communist by definition is a rewriter of history, purveyor of falsehood, prone to the ostrich mentality, and is intentionally blind to facts that do not match his world view. His hatred of the private sector is so profound that were it not for his scientific bent of mind, on a lunar eclipse, he would accuse the private sector of having stolen the moon. And that’s what Mukherjee is doing here.

Did he bother to find out why crude production is “hovering” in spite of huge gas finds by Reliance and Cairn? Did he read reports like this one

Cairn India, a subsidiary of Cairn Plc UK, that struck India’s largest oil discovery on land in recent years will be ready to pump out its first barrel of oil in just 10 days from now.

But the company may be unable to sell the oil as the government is yet to decide on the buyers and the selling price of the oil, a person close to the development who did not wish to be named said. “The wells have been drilled and completed, processing and loading facilities are in place and trucking arrangements up to Kandla have been made,” the person said. Unlike the current bidding process for exploration where oil companies can sell oil/gas to whoever they want, Cairn India’s discovery at Barmer, Rajasthan, was a government nominated oil block.

The government has the right to decide who the buyer for the oil should be in such blocks. In Cairn’s case, the government has been unable to decide on who the buyer for this oil should be despite only days to go. As per the production sharing contract (PSC) between oil ministry and Cairn India, the government has to appoint buyers for the Barmer crude oil before the production starts. Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, a subsidiary of state-run ONGC, is supposed to be the first buyer for the first oil production of about 30,000 barrels but this too may be difficult as there is no agreement on the selling price, the person said.

or this one on “stagnant” natural gas production-

India’s next exploration licencing round, expected in April, may get a poor response as government controls on sales of natural gas may put off potential investors, the head of Cairn India said on Tuesday.

The government has mandated how much gas should be sold and to which customers by Reliance Industries, which discovered natural gas in a deep-sea block it was awarded under India’s New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP).

Cairn India managing director and CEO Rahul Dhir said NELP had initially attracted investors with transparent and commercially attractive terms, which included freedom to market oil or gas and sell it at market prices.

“If you start to put constraints on that, what it does is it creates an additional degree of uncertainty which may deter investors,” he told Reuters.

Companies that bid for exploration blocks in such an environment may not offer attractive terms to the government, he said.

“Putting these restrictions on pricing and gas marketing, all it’s going to do is that it will eventually cost the government, either in terms of reduced profitability or reduced activity,” he said.

As for coal, why do people have to wait for ages to get a million permissions before they can start mining?

Cracking a whip on power utilities and mining firms for not developing coal properties in time, the government has warned that it may soon take back at least 14 coal blocks if the allottees fail to initiate work on them within a month.

[…]

The coal ministry has so far allotted 196 captive coal blocks with a cumulative reserve of 51 billion tonne. The blocks are exclusively meant to cater to the coal requirements of the allottees.

Even as the government plans to cancel allocation of the captive coal blocks, the companies said they are not to be blamed solely for it as it takes time to get the government’s statutory clearances for starting mining activities.

and why is the monopolist PSU – Coal India – importing coal instead of mining if its so super efficient-

Even as Santosh Bagrodia, minister of state for coal, denied any coal shortage in the country, state-owned Coal India Ltd , or CIL, the country’s largest coal mining firm, said it plans to import 4 million tonnes (mt) of coal this year, the first such trade by the public sector unit. “We are looking to import 4mt this year. We are yet to firm up the source of this import,” CIL chairman Partha Bhattacharyya said.

That number could increase, said another official.

“Going forward, the volume of coal imports by CIL may even increase depending upon the demand of the consumers in the country,” said a senior coal ministry official who did not wish to be named.

[…]

Several companies allotted coal mines have not commenced production—in some cases—because their coal mines haven’t received requisite environmental clearances. India has an installed power generation capacity of 143,000 MW and around 67% of this is based on coal. A significant portion of this capacity is idle because promised supplies of coal are not being delivered by CIL.

For instance, India’s largest power producer, state-run NTPC Ltd, is facing acute shortage of coal at its 1,000MW Simhadri project in coastal Andhra Pradesh which has enough supplies of coal to generate power only for the next four days, as reported by Mint on 29 August.

Bagrodia, however, denied that there is any shortage of coal.

While PSUs are dozing, the communist is busy blaming “dubious” private sector companies. The “dubious” companies must then “include Tata Sponge, NCT Delhi, Monnet Ispat, Adhunik Group, electricity boards of Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand, power corporations of Maharashtra and Haryana, and mineral development corporations of Chhattisgarh, Assam and Meghalaya” because these are the ones that have been served with “de-allocation notices.”

As for the power situation in Maharashtra, the performance of the public sector generation, transmission and distribution companies borders on the pathetic with daily planned and unplanned power cuts. I am sure that we are going to suffer 5-6 hour cuts this summer because no major project will be completed in the next 3-4 years and the demand keeps going up year after year. If Vidharba is carved up into a new state, I guess Bombay and Pune will be plunged into darkness as most generation units are located in V. Dabhol – Enron’s headache – is gathering dust because of gas supply issues and the government is busy trying to hive off its LNG terminal. No word on power though.

We are thus environmentalists by default, as Jug Suraiya so aptly describes

Last Saturday I was all geared up to be an active participant in Earth Hour. You know what Earth Hour is, of course. It was started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007 when over two million residents of the city switched off the non-essential lights in their homes and offices for one hour in a show of solidarity with the universal crusade against global warming and climate change…

So come 8.30 I headed for the light switches to turn them off. When lo and behold the lights turned themselves off…

It was then that I realised just how advanced and conscientious in terms of protecting the environment our sarkar was, and already had been. In other, less environment-friendly countries, citizens had to remember to go turn off the lights in observance of Earth Hour. In India Unshining, we citizens did not have to bestir ourselves to put off the lights because our proactive sarkar did it for us through a power cut, so that we could all be part and parcel of what might be called Dearth Hour.

Indira Gandhi said that poverty was the biggest pollutant. Mrs G got it wrong. It isn’t poverty but progress that’s the biggest pollutant. And our successive sarkars have realised the truth of that axiom and acted on it. To make sure that India remains as pollution-free as it is progress-free. Look at countries like America, and Europe, and others, all so hell-bent on this environmentally dangerous thing called progress that they’ve ended up jeopardising the entire planet, what with global warming, and climate change, and ozone holes, and sunburnt polar bears, and Al Gore and R K Pachauri madly airdashing about hither and yon to do something about it and in the process leaving behind carbon footprints the size of Antarctica before it got melted away. That’s what progress has done to the planet.

So, no progress, please, we’re Indians, said our sequential sarkars and made sure that we weren’t overburdened with such pollution-causing things like bijli, and roads…

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