Top power company officials to meet PM
NEW DELHI INDIAN Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will come under intense pressure to come up with a swift response to the worsening crisis in the country’s power industry on Wednesday when he meets top executives from the sector’s biggest companies.
India, striving to ensure energy security for its people and industry, has also been struggling to pay Iran for oil imports after new US sanctions which penalise any financial institutions dealing with Iran’s central bank.
Fuel shortage due to stagnant domestic coal output and lower-than-expected gas output, slow environmental clearances, and shortage of funding have held up power projects and threaten India’s economic growth.
“Power companies have been pushed into a corner and therefore they felt they should take the issue to the highest level in the government,” said V Srinivasan, analyst with Angel Broking.
Power sector executives are likely to push for swifter action to improve access to coal and make it easier to get funding, acquire land and get environmental clearances.
Policy gridlock in India, which has resulted in little economic reforms in the past few years, has crimped investment and contributed to a slowing of the economy.
Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata, his deputy Cyrus Mistry, Reliance Power Chairman Anil Ambani, Adani Power Chairman Gautam Adani and top executives from other private power firms will be part of the delegation, organised by the Association of Power Producers.
The executives will also meet ministers in charge of finance, coal, petroleum and environment on the same day. Late last year, Singh met top executives from the telecommunications sector to hear their concerns about regulatory issues.
A shortage of coal and gas and uncertainty over supply have thrown the business plans of the generators into disarray and made lenders reluctant to lend, delaying projects.