People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 37

September 21 , 2008



Dipankar Mukherjee

IN the euphoria created by the government and the media-blitzkrieg after obtaining the NSG waiver on nuclear deal, the 44.2 per cent population in India who do not have access to electricity for lighting (as per 2001 census figures) are being promised day in and day out –– wait! the day the 123 agreement is signed in Washington, you all will get electricity at your doorstep. It is not just a political novice, assuring the Sashikalas and Kalawatis in the country, but even political veterans like Pranab Mukherjee, the economist prime minister himself, backed by the lawyer lobby of Chidambaram and Sibals and of course the Congress drum-beaters all are on the same tune, a Caesar like call of “Friends, Indians and countrymen! wait for the nuclear deal with Bush and electricity is at your beck and call”.


Is the UPA government and particularly the Congressmen suffering from amnesia? Or do they feel that Indian people will be gullible enough to forget the government’s commitment, made only a few years back. What did they commit to the people in their National Electricity Policy (NEP) in February 2005? These policy commitments were made even before Manmohan Singh signed the joint declaration with Bush for nuclear deal in July 2005?

In the NEP, the following declarations were made:

The above commitment to the people was never linked with the India-US nuclear deal. Let us look at the latest Annual Report 2007 – 2008 of ministry of power, government of India. In para 3 of chapter 4 titled “Capacity addition programme in the Eleventh Plan”, it states:

The National Electricity Policy (NEP) stipulates power for all by 2012 and annual per capita consumption of electricity to rise to 1000 units from the present level of 631 units. To fulfil the objectives of the NEP, a capacity addition of 78,577 MW has been proposed for the Eleventh Plan. This capacity addition is expected to provide a growth of 9.5 per cent to the power sector. The break up of the capacity addition target is given as under:





Total (MW)





39865 (50.7%)





27952 (35.5%)





10760 (13.8%)


16553 (21%)

58644 (74.6%)

3380 (4.4%)

78577 (100%)

So, deal, or no deal, to fulfil the commitment made to the people to provide electricity to every household by 2012, a total of 78,577 MW will be created out of which only 3380 MW is supposed to be the nuclear power – the panacea of power shortage in the country as per the US lobby in the country. If the Bush-friendly government and the energy-illiterate media want to dedicate 3380 MW to Bush administration, let it be at their pleasure, but the Manmohan Singh government has to answer to the people one and only one question – what happened to capacity addition of the remaining 75,195 MW power in five years? How much you have achieved till 2009?


To achieve a target of 75,000 MW in five years you require an addition of 15,000 MW per year. How much has the UPA government achieved so far in this regard? The total installed capacity when UPA government assumed power was 1,12,000 MW. Till January 31, 2008 after 44 months in power the installed capacity was 1,41,000 MW i.e. an addition of less than 30,000 MW. This means an addition of roughly 8000 MW a year compared to its own commitment to add 15,000 MW a year in thermal and hydro power, hardly a little above 50 per cent of the committed addition. Who is responsible for this shortfall? Is it attributable to nuclear power or lack of nuclear deal? People, the Sashikalas and Kalawatis, would not seek explanation from George Bush or the corporate media of Expresswallahs, Timeswallahs or the TV channel owners, but from Manmohan Singh and his nuclear men.

Whether the delay in construction of 3960 MW (6X660) NTPC’s coal-based thermal plants in Barh, North Kanpura, Sipat, Kahalgaon and its gas-based 2600 MW plants at Kawas and Gandhar was because of “nuclear isolation” or “lack of access to technology”? Who were responsible for the delay in commencement of 4000 MW Ultra Mega Power Project at Sasan because of the corporate fight between Congress-backed LANCO and its foe-turned- ally-backed Reliance Energy Ltd.? What were PM and his nuclear-men doing on the “kickback” scam involved in purchase of power plant equipments for Barh plant which has inordinately delayed the project? Why the government could not help its own company NTPC in forcing Reliance Industries Ltd to give gas at the contracted price since 2005? And last but not the least what has happened to the equally media-backed Manmohan- Montek inspired deal of “Dabhol/Enron”, which was supposed to give 2140 MW, a decade back to power-starved Maharashtra? The plant closed in 2001 because it was unviable. But the same was revived by the UPA government in 2005 for meeting our energy security with a lot of fanfare and public money. However, the project still remains unviable.

If Enron-dealers, be it the Congress or the BJP, were thrown out of power for bluffing the people of Maharashtra by giving false hope of electricity, the people of this country will not think twice to throw the nuclear dealers also out of power for hoodwinking the nation that the power shortage can be met through nuclear deal.