Load shedding seems to be inevitable for the State as power generation has been crippled by a severe shortage of coal and water. This has become a headache for the Siddaramaiah government as the State is headed for Assembly elections, next year.
The State has thermal power plants at Raichur and Ballari that generate around 30 million units of power daily. But the shortage of coal and water supply has severely affected the power generation. What more, at present, the Centre has restricted the coal supply too. This has raised concerns in the government, and it is reported that load shedding is the only way to keep the power plants run. On Saturday, a high-level meeting was held to discuss the measures to arrest the situation before going out of control.
Meanwhile, the government is worried that the crisis may cast a shadow on the government's popularity in the run-up to the elections. The Assembly elections are expected between April and May. And the demand for power is more during these summer months. "How can the government opt for load shedding during the elections' time. This will severely affect the chief minister's image," reports Kannada Prabha quoting a source.
Energy Minister DK Shivakumar told media persons that although the government had written to the Centre seeking the additional supply of coal, there has been no satisfying answer from the Centre. Besides, the Centre is insisting that the coal will be supplied only through railway lines and not through any other modes. This has become a headache for the government. To take control of the situation, the government may opt for power purchase, but that will be an additional burden on the exchequer.