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A powerless State

A powerless State
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For all that, it must be said to the credit of Dr Rao's large-heartedness that he was only unhappy that he was denied the opportunity to realize his...

For all that, it must be said to the credit of Dr Rao's large-heartedness that he was only unhappy that he was denied the opportunity to realize his dreams of making the country self-sufficient in power

All doubts are now set at rest about the worsening of power position in the coming months with Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy himself stating clearly that the State will have to put up with increased power cuts till the end of summer, and that if there is a good monsoon things will improve by September; and it might get extended till the year-end if monsoon fails by then. With that he has also ruled out any possibility of rollback of retrospective power bills for the helpless consumers for which a sustained agitation has been going on for quite some time.

One is reminded of an astrologer's prediction to a worried client, who told him of his troubles, that they would persist for one more year. "Then what will happen? Will I be out of all problems?" he asked. "By then you will get used to them and they will not trouble you any longer, "was the astrologer's assurance.

In the recent past the worst-ever power failure in the Delhi made people remain in dark for six hours and it was attributed to failure of a uniform policy on national power grid. SK Shinde was the Power Minister at that time, and for his failure he was removed from that ministry but he was promoted to the high-profile Home Ministry where he revealed his lack of sensitivity and got into trouble for which he had to apologise and also handle later a serious bomb blast in the heart of a State capital.

When Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister, Dr. K L Rao, the one and only member till then to be elected to the Lok Sabha without any contest from Vijayawada, was Power Minister, and for the bleak power position at that time she had a knack of finding scapegoats for her failures and he came in handy for her to throw blame on him and he had to bear the brunt for the accumulated sins of inefficiency and meager allotment of funds till then and quit in disgrace. For all that, it must be said to the credit of Dr. Rao's large-heartedness that he was only unhappy that he was denied the opportunity to realize his dreams of making the country self-sufficient in power and never used one harsh word against her.

Is there no way out for this country to come out of this chronic shortage, increasing year after year with demand for power outstripping the generation? It is the urgent need as per capita consumption of power is considered as the sure sign of overall progress. A We have some of the best brains in science and technology whose expertise is utilized in several other countries but we refuse to heed to their advice.

The proposal of Dr. K L Rao for linking the major rivers, 'Garland Canal' project, prepared by Dastur & Co. remained in cold storage for more than five decades. The Vajpayee government took it up in all earnestness along with linking major cities by excellent road network, 'Quadrilateral' which has completely changed the country's transport system.

The present Government failed to pursue the linking of rivers for reasons not far to seek. But it has taken up nuclear power generation, despite opposition from certain Left parties, and not much headway has been made on this also. The Kudamkulam project in Tamil Nadu has not yet come out of opposition from the locals, supported by rights activists. Expert opinion seems to be in favour of nuclear power as the only alternative to be pursued as all other sources have limitations.

Take the example of France. Eighty percent of its power requirement comes from nuclear power. Former Chairman of Atomic Energy Establishment, and former President A P J Abdul Kalam have expressed their views clearly on that issue. But still we are dithering. There is no time to lose.

As Prof. A. Prasanna Kumar has rightly said in his article in 'New Swatantra Times': "The emergence of coalition politics, leading to the dominance of vote-bank politics, has exposed the weakness of the system of parliamentary government. Scams and corrupt deals, the consequences of such opportunistic deals, continue to rock the nation and shock public conscience. People should come together, transcending the boundaries of religion, region and caste, to bring sense to the rulers and stability to the Government. That is the culture India needs now".

Tailpiece: Vexed with the present and impending power cuts in the State, a retired officer who lives well on pension and help from children abroad comfortably with his wife is toying with the idea of shifting to Narendra Modi's Gujarat which has 24-hour power supply. His wife is quite happy at that. For him the dilemma is lack of power with plenty of inebriating stuff or plenty of power with strictly enforced 'prohibition'!

OPINION

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