Jayawanti Mehta meets Naik to lobby for NTPC

Vol 5, PW 15 (12 Sep 01) People & Policy

India's largest electricity producer National Thermal Power Corporation, or NTPC, is getting short-changed and it doesn't like it.

Which is why NTPC chairman C.P Jain was compelled to seek the intervention of his political masters in the power ministry to stop poaching by Reliance, Essar and GAIL of gas supplies to its Gandhar power project in Gujarat.

On 8th August junior power minister Jayawanti Mehta trooped into oil minister and fellow BJP party colleague Ram Naik's office in parliament accompanied by Jain and B.N Ojha, NTPC director operations.

From the oil ministry additional secretary Naresh Narad and joint secretary gas S.Vijayaraghavan shored up Naik's position.

Did Jain and his boss Mehta succeed in their mission No! Naik gave each of them a patient hearing, but instead of a solution offered some patronising advice. NTPC would have to learn to live with gas shortages, he told them.

Or they should wait for LNG when Petronet LNG's imports land in 2003-04. Jain replied that the price of LNG would be "prohibitive." Naik asked him to "work out the price at which LNG should be supplied so that the off-taker would be willing to agree to the tariff." With no commitments from Naik's side Jain and Mehta returned disappointed.

"The meeting ended with the assurance of the minister (petroleum & natural gas) to get the matter examined," reads a bland resume of the proceedings. What are NTPC's grievances Read on.