Patna, Feb. 15: An angry industries department has requested for a meeting with the chief secretary to bail out entrepreneurs whose exemption on power tariff has been put on hold by the energy mandarins.
Top officials in the industries ministry said today that a sum of Rs 95 crore had been paid to the energy department this financial year towards compensation for the benefits granted to entrepreneurs under the state’s industrial policy of 2011.
Energy minister Renu Kumari had yesterday denied that any payment had been received from the industry department on this account. The Bihar State Power (Holding) Company, in a letter dated January 7, 2013, instructed its supply heads not to extend benefits to entrepreneurs as the industry department owed it money.
According to the industrial policy of the state, no state agency can hold back exemptions granted to entrepreneurs. The power company’s decision has come as a huge surprise and blow to industrialists who say the state has a lot of explaining to do.
“This is something which shouldn’t have happened. I don’t have much idea about the previous financial year but in this fiscal, the department has already paid a sum of Rs 95 crore to them. They said the amount had been adjusted and quoted another figure, which the department had to pay up. At present, we are trying to arrange the funds. We have requested a meeting with the chief secretary next week to sort out the issue. But this is a problem between two departments and the (power) company shouldn’t have acted as they have. In fact, the company had told us, though not in writing, that they wouldn’t be taking any steps,” principal secretary, industries, Naveen Verma told The Telegraph today.
Energy secretary Sandeep Poundrik was unavailable for comment.
The power company’s chairman-cum-managing director, Prabhat Kumar Rai, acknowledged receiving Rs 95 crore but added that the sum was for the previous financial year.
“We have already submitted an utilisation report for Rs 95 crore received from the industries department. The amount was meant for the previous financial year. We are demanding Rs 60 crore from the industries department for the current financial year (till March),” said Rai.