The Telegraph
Thursday , January 23 , 2014
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Power duo in quit revolt
- Cesu board plunges into crisis

Bhubaneswar, Jan 22: Phailin’s effect continues to hit the state and the cyclone latest victim is the Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha (Cesu).

A piquant situation has emerged in the state’s power sector with senior officials, including the energy secretary, resigning from the 11-member Cesu board.

However, Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission is yet to accept the resignation of energy secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena.

“The commission is examining what led the energy secretary to put in his papers,” sources in the OERC said.

Jena’s resignation came after Cesu chairman B.C. Jena quit from the board.

“The cold war between chief executive officer, Cesu, and the government on issue of restoration of power sector in the aftermath of the Phailin, has led energy secretary to put in his papers,” sources said.

The outgoing chairman refused to comment on the issue.

“There is no reason for my resignation,” he said. Cesu’s CEO Sudarshan Nayak said: “I have no difference of opinion with any one. I am here on a two-year contract. I will not allow anything wrong to be done here.”

Nayak said that there was no problem so far in the management of Cesu affairs. “ It is almost a fortnight that they have resigned. However, everything is going on smooth,” he said.

Sources said differences of opinion cropped up after the Phailin hit the state in October. Energy secretary Jena was reportedly unhappy after Cesu failed to carry out repair and restoration on a war footing. Besides, he had objected to the CEO’s style of functioning.

“There are differences over assessment of the losses caused to the Cesu due to Phailin. Earlier, the Cesu had submitted a loss of Rs 260 crores. Later, the CESU revised the loss amount to Rs 112 crore. This triggered serious division in the board,” said an official. With the energy secretary and chairman resigning from the board, officials in the Cesu and energy department said it has started affecting normal work.

“The Cesu franchise owners, who are engaged in collection of electricity tariff, have started delaying payment to the company. No one seems to have any sense of responsibility at this moment,” said an official.

The Cesu is now incurring a loss to the tune of Rs 1,200-1,500 core per annum. “The OERC, which should have acted fast on this issue, is also confused as to what to do,” said an official.

Sources said chairman of the Grid Corporation of Odisha Hemanta Sharma was also reportedly unhappy with the functioning of the Cesu.

Energy minister Arun Sahu said: “The issue is with the OERC now. No file to this effect has been put before me. Once the file comes, I will take a decision.”