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Dues result in supply sorrows

Hazaribagh, Aug. 24: Hazaribagh district is reeling under an acute power crisis with cash-strapped Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) effecting unscheduled load-shedding across the areas serviced by it.

Local residents complained that they had been receiving supply only 6-8 hours a day for the past two weeks. Rampant power cuts during peak hours is not only affecting normal life but also taking its toll on businesses.

DVC Officers’ Association secretary Sanjay Singh said that this crisis had been in the making for sometime.

A rough estimate suggests that Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (JUVNL) owes Rs 7,500 crore to DVC. But, the state power board had not cleared the dues even after repeated pleas, Singh pointed out.

This apart, DVC supplies power to eight districts, including Hazaribagh, Giridih, Ramgarh, Koderma, Chatra, Dhanbad and Bokaro. “The regular supply costs around Rs 165 crore every month, compounding the existing dues,” he added.

To make the situation worse for the DVC and, in turn, for the people of these districts, Coal India has introduced a “cash-and-carry” policy to minimise its own financial burdens. It means that the coal major is not going to sell fuel on credit.

Currently, the DVC owes Rs 1,403 crore to the Coal India on account of fuel purchased in the past. “The DVC cannot clear the dues unless JUVNL pays up. DVC is currently producing only 2,500MW as against its normal capacity of 6,357MW,” Singh, also a senior DVC officer, said.

He added that the situation was unlikely to improve unless DVC scaled up its production, which was possible only when it got its money from JUVNL and paid coal bills.

When contacted JUVNL engineer Subrata Banerjee said, “The matter is related to dues and it is now for the state government to look into it.”