Tata sets aside Rs850 cr to boost power supply in Mumbai till FY11-12

Mumbai: Tata Power plans to invest Rs850 crore till FY11-12 to beef up generation, transmission and distribution, a senior company official told PTI.

The company will be investing Rs850-crore over 3 years (FY 10 till FY 12) to enhance its generation, transmission and distribution capabilities, said Tata Power's executive director-operations, S Padmanabhan.

According to Mr Padmanabhan, the company is also “eyeing a customer-base of close 1,40,000 by March 2011” from the existing clientele of 85,000. He claims more than 50,000 customers have shifted to Tata Power from its competitor—RInfra (Reliance Infrastructure)—in recent months.

Besides, to improve the power supply, the company has earmarked Rs300 crore each for transmission and distribution while Rs250 crore will be invested in upping generation capacity, he said.

Tata Power is witnessing a significant market response and this is evident from the nearly 1,200-calls per day received by the company's officials (seeking its power) over the last two weekends, Mr Padmanabhan said.

“We will be laying a new network for all our new customers. In the current fiscal, we will be laying around 110 circuit kilometres of network,” the Tata Power official said.

The cost of laying one-kilometre of such a network works out to around Rs1 crore, he said.

The company has also set up 17 consumer sub-stations in the last six-months to support its expansion.

Besides, to facilitate customers' change-over from RInfra to Tata Power, it has set up two call-centres capable of handling 1,000 calls per day, five customer-care centres, 40 drop-boxes and kiosks.

“We have 40 officials who go to small colonies, including slums, to collect payments and also vans to go to different places to fill-up forms. Our aim is to create infrastructure, which will make it easy for people to become Tata Power customers,” Mr Padmanabhan said.


The plot sickens: Probe into the Commonwealth Games mess takes a backseat

An RTI activist’s query shows that the Commonwealth Games probe is just inching along. Should we assume that the probe will be just another Indian case of justice delayed—and denied?

The Commonwealth Games (CWG) scandal, where allegedly crores of rupees were siphoned away at the cost of the exchequer, simply refuses to fade away. Today's news reports indicate that the first draft of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the CWG issue will be tabled by the beginning of next year.

But will the CAG report actually manage to unearth all the dirt behind the shoddy, opaque-and as been alleged, corrupt-goings-on that the country was subject to in the run-up to the Games? Since the jury is out on this one, one can only wait and watch.

Readers should be cautioned, though. The same daily from which we carried the information on the CAG report also indicates that the entity had voiced concern about various CWG projects about a year ago to the government. But this CAG alert was ignored.

Right to Information (RTI) activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal has been repeatedly trying to unearth "complete and detailed information together with related correspondence/documents/file-notings on under-mentioned (Mr Agrawal's RTI petition to the Central Public Information Officer, Central Vigilance Commission, New Delhi has a long list of hard-hitting queries) aspects relating to irregularities and corruption relating to the Commonwealth Games."

Mr Agrawal has consented to share his RTI documents with Moneylife. He finally got a reply from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on 19th November, for his RTI application dated 18th October.

The CVC answer provides a few 'answers' (all these points are based on the documents provided to Moneylife by Mr Agrawal), and here is our interpretation of the same:

1) The probe is meandering along at the proverbial Indian rate. Almost all the detailed queries put forward by Mr Agrawal have answers which seem to indicate that there has been no progress on any of the issues, despite the media-and public-outcry. Here's a sample:

a) "Complaint regarding alleged irregularities in the construction of Bus Queue Shelters for Commonwealth Games, 2010 by DIMTS - CBI has registered an FIR in this matter"

b) "Procurement of 'Secure Communication Network' for Commonwealth Games, 2010-the Commission informed Govt of NCT of Delhi that it would not pursue the matter further at this stage (emphasis ours). Subsequently, another complaint was received from Dr Harsh Vardhan, MLA, and the Commission sought comments (sic) from Govt of NCT of Delhi on the complaint, which are awaited.  

At this stage, it is a veritable alphabet soup-of agencies against whom corruption charges have been levied and government entities ostensibly probing these graft allegations.

What's more, here's the clincher in the reply given to Mr Agrawal from the CVC:
"As regards the details of the correspondence/documents/file noting etc as sought by you in these paras, you may please note that in these cases the authorities concerned have not yet issued final orders in these matters, that is, the cases have not reached their logical conclusion and hence, are to be considered under investigation. Therefore, the information sought by you cannot be provided at present, keeping in view the provisions contained under Section 8 (l) (h) of the RTI Act."

This ensures that there is a lid firmly kept on the actions of the various bureaucrats and politicians responsible for aiding these alleged corrupt activities in the run-up to the CWG.

Yesterday, the country faced another major embarrassment when the national broadcaster and telecaster went on the blink. Employees of Doordarshan and All India Radio went on a flash strike protesting against the alleged role of Prasar Bharati's CEO, BS Lalli, in the CWG broadcast mess (yes, there is one). What next, a go-slow from the babus at the sports ministry?

Will this whole CWG imbroglio just become yet another Indian case of justice (much) delayed-and also denied?    


Madhu Dandavate stood for probity in public life, but officials want their palms greased for executing his will

The iconic former senior Indian politician was from an era when politics was still a noble profession. His son is now being forced to run from pillar to post for executing his father’s will—just because he is unwilling to pay speed money

This is just another indicator why India proudly occupies the 87th position in the list of the world's most corrupt countries, according to the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index.

The story of Uday Dandavate, son of former Union railway minister Madhu Dandavate, goes back a long way. He has been fighting to execute his father's will for the past five years. Recently, after the Times of India published his story, the Bombay High Court Chief Justice ordered the vigilance department for a probe into the matter. But Mr Dandavate wants the authorities to weed out corruption as a whole, and help the common man.

In his reply to the registrar of the vigilance cell-a copy of which is with Moneylife-he said, "Instead of offering me help it would be worthwhile for the vigilance department to protect the common man-because it is the common man who continues to be harassed every day under the nose of the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court."

Mr Dandavate, the head of a design research company in the USA and a regular contributor to Radical Humanist and Janata Weekly, has used his articles to raise the issue of corruption in India. He views his problem as a part of a larger picture. In his letter, he says, "The court officials delayed the probate for the past five years because I refused to pay a bribe. The officials are very well aware of the fact that they are seeking a cut from the meagre savings of a person who is known throughout the country for impeccable integrity in public life. Yet they expect a bribe because the system is not capable of deterring, stopping or punishing their corrupt acts."

When he wrote about this to his attorney and told him that he would not pay a bribe, he got the classic reply: "This is India, not the US."

Naturally, he was not convinced with the logic, and wrote to his attorney that he would be glad to go public with any indication of wrongdoing, and would fight corruption. His attorney's reply, while refuting allegations of corruption, 'suggested' that it is better to accept the custom. It said, "I do not agree that inefficiency and corruption do not exist in India. It certainly does and if we do not accept or admit this position then we are living in a fool's paradise."

So after five years of frustration, Mr Dandavate is yet to get a probate on his father's will. Moneylife had offered to help him by writing about it, but he wanted to fight his own battle. Now, after the matter has become public, the testamentary department of the Bombay High Court has declared that the will was probated a month ago. But the Internet status report says that the will is yet to be probated because certain objections raised by the department have not been cleared.

A part of Mr Dandavate's meagre inheritance has already been deposited in his bank account, and the rest has gone to the charity commissioner because he failed to claim it on time. It would have cost him Rs50,000 to get the will probated within one month. But since Mr Dandavate refused to pay a bribe for getting his rightful inheritance released-an inheritance which has been the result of his father's honest work-the issue remains unresolved.

Mr Dandavate wants to win this fight, but not for himself. He wrote to the vigilance department, "My purpose in mentioning my personal struggles was to empathise with the travails of the common man. I do not need help from the vigilance department. It would be of great service for Mumbaikars to use this case to remove the harassment to common people."

Will that be too much to expect at a time when the nation is abuzz with talks about the IPL scam, the Commonwealth Games scandal, the Radia tapes, the Adarsh Co-operative Society land-grab and, of course, the 2G spectrum rip-off?




7 years ago

Every minister or CM or MLA or MP charged with corruption says he is honest.We have hardly any IAS or IPS officers who are honest and even if some are honest they are not allowed to function.Where is the solution and who can solve?Land prices have zoomed by five times in five years.Can any senior official in govt.afford a house today (if he had not acquired more than five years ago).Perhaps that made LICHsg CEO to make hay while the sun shines.

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