The BJP’s Gujarat Model of “crony capitalism” has been exposed yet another time. This time it is the BJP’s statement that “Gujarat is an electricity surplus state”.
While the BJP claims that Gujarat is an electricity surplus state, the reality is something else. The combined production capacity of state-owned power plants in the state is 8,641 MW. Yet the plants operate at abysmally low levels of 33% to 38% of their capacities over the last three years.
The beneficiary of this is, of course, four private power companies, namely Adani, ESSAR, Tata and China Light Power. The Gujarat government purchases power from these four at highly inflated rates. Between the years 2002-2016, the Gujarat government purchased electricity worth Rs. 62,549 from the companies mentioned above.
Notably, this is the highest private power purchase in India for a state the size of Gujarat. Interestingly, Narendra Modi was the CM of Gujarat from 2002-2014. The percentage of load factor (power production from government-owned plants) was 38% for the year 2015-16. Even 22 years ago, when the Congress was in power, the same figure was 60.4% — almost double. The BJP government has systematically allowed the undermining of the state-run power infrastructure in Gujarat, to enable the thriving of private power companies owned by Mr. Modi friends in the industry.
The BJP government has been purchasing power from private companies at unimaginably high rates of Rs. 24.67 per unit even as the government-owned NTPC was supplying electricity to it at the rates of Rs. 2.88-Rs. 3.17 per unit.
It is almost as if the BJP government’s motto is allowing private power companies to profiteer, while the people and exchequer suffer. Is this government only for its cronies?