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Orissa power

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 2: More than a year after retired bureaucrat Sovan Kanungo submitted his report on power reforms in Orissa, the state government has decided to accept some of the recommendations, reports our correspondent.

A notification to this effect issued by the energy department comes in the wake of the World Bank and the UK-based Department for International Development piling pressure on the state to implement the recommendations.

According to the notification, the effect of “up-valuation” of assets like the Orissa Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) and Grid Corporation of Orissa (Gridco) would be kept in abeyance from 2001-02 prospectively till 2005-06 or as and when the sector turns around, whichever is earlier.

The two corporations will now not be entitled to any return on equity till they spin profits. The outstanding dues payable to the OHPC by Gridco till March 31, 2001, for power purchase will be converted into securities through power bonds.

The government will also pass on the World Bank loan to Gridco and four distribution companies (as 70 per cent loan at the rate of 13 per cent interest, and the balance 30 per cent as grant). Necessary budgetary provisions will also be made for payment of electricity bills of the distribution companies, payable directly to the OHPC.

However, the government has failed to accept certain key recommendations, such as the appointment of a full-time chief executive officer for the OHPC and Central Electricity Supply Company. Although the committee has recommended minimal government interference in the affairs of Gridco and others, the government has decided otherwise.

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