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Perform or perish, Sheila Dikshit tells Anil Ambani

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit has held out a threat to Reliance Infra chief Anil Ambani that the government would be forced to look elsewhere if the power firms – BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani – failed to improve service. The companies are also yet to clear dues to the tune of over Rs 3200 crores to the power generation and transmission firms.

This came after the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) recommended a bailout package for private power discoms. Claiming that the companies were incurring about Rs 20,000 crore loss, DERC said either the government should give the companies a bailout or allow increase in tariff.

When asked about the move, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, leader of the opposition in Delhi Assembly, said the discoms were committing large scale fraud in connivance with the associate companies. ‘The siphoning of money to sister firms has been projected by these companies as loss,’ said Malhotra. ‘It’s matter of record that the pilferage of electricity has been brought down by 45 percent, which should result in profit of more than rs 5000 crore every year to these private companies,’ Malhotra added.

Delhi power minister Harun Yusuf said the DERC advise was statutory in nature and government was examining several options it had to save the consumers from another round of tariff hike. DERC has also issued public notice to seek opinion on the matter.

With Delhi Vidhan Sabha polls scheduled for the later part of the year, Delhi government can ill afford a tariff hike at this point of time. The government had allowed a 26 percent hike in tariff last July. When contacted BSES spokesperson said, ‘Increase in prices of coal, diesel and train fare has put our companies under financial stress with accumulated recoverable revenue gap of around Rs 20,000 crore.’ The government had in 2011 given a bailout of Rs 500 crore to BSES and Rs 245 crore to Tata power.
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