Power distribution companies in the state would soon be able to get rid of the Rs 2,968-crore loan repayment burden.
The power ministry has agreed to approach the Union cabinet for tweaking the financial restructuring package (FRP) to accommodate three more states, including Bihar, to take the benefit of the scheme. On September 24, 2012, the Centre had announced a Rs 1.9 lakh-crore restructuring scheme to take state electricity boards out of a debt-trap.
“The power minister has said that it would approach the cabinet for allowing it (power ministry) to effect certain changes in the financial restructuring package so that states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and others could reap benefits of the scheme,” energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said. Yadav, who was talking to reporters a day after the power ministers’ conference in Delhi, said that the FRP scheme would help the distribution companies clean up their liabilities.
Explaining how the FRP would help Bihar’s two power distribution companies, which together have an outstanding loan of Rs 2,968 crore, energy department secretary and Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd chairman-cum-managing director Sandeep Poundrik said: “According to the bailout package, the state would take over half of the outstanding loans of the distribution companies and issue bonds to the lenders. For the rest 50 per cent loan amount, the banks would provide a three-year moratorium on repayment of the principal amount.”
Sources said the companies would get easy loans from national and international agencies quite easily if they do not have liabilities for repayment. The financial record would look better and healthier, Poundrik said.
The state lagged behind in taking the benefit of the scheme last year because it had not completed the mandatory power reforms by restructuring the then Bihar State Electricity Board into two power companies.
“In order to avail the benefit, the state had to complete the restructuring process by March 31, 2012,” he said.
The accumulated losses of the state power distribution companies are estimated to be about Rs 1.9 lakh crore as on March 31, 2011.