Is Kerala LDF govt’s Rs 8,765 Crore energy deal with Adani a truce to gain support of BJP Centre?

The state makes many claims about why they had to make the deal with the Adani group at exorbitant prices, but reports show that it is an unnecessary deal enforcing financial burden
Is Kerala LDF govt’s Rs 8,765 Crore energy deal with Adani a truce to gain support of BJP Centre?

Attending the election campaigns in Kerala, Indian National Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala hit out against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over his and CPM’s alleged relationship with the BJP. His major claim includes the LDF government’s “unholy” deal with Adani Green Energy and that this deal helped the state government gain the support of the BJP-led Centre in many cases. He addressed the allegations in the form of questions addressed towards the LDF government.

He alleged that the Kerala government had purchased 300MW long-term wind power — through Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), which is a nodal agency of the Ministry of Renewal Energy — from the Adani group for 25 years costing Rs 8,785 Crore. According to the contract with the SECI, the units of power have been purchased at the cost of Rs 2.9 and Rs 2.82, but Randeep said that had Kerala purchased the Renewable energy Certificate (REC), which costs only Rs 1 per unit, then the state could have saved a lot. According to sources, experts in the Kerala State Electricity Board also had the same opinion.

While other KSEB chairman NS Pillai claimed that Kerala couldn’t obtain REC as the state faces a shortage of 200-300 Megawatt power. However, according to reports, the state had a 623 MW surplus of power between April-September (2018-2019), and from October to March (2018-19) it was 975 MW surplus units. In 2019-2020, the state had a surplus power of 1,925 MW and in the next year, the state sold above 1,000 MW of surplus energy, and for 2021-22, the state has already sold around 600 MW of surplus energy. “If Kerala is already a power surplus state, then why buy expensive energy, and push an unnecessary financial burden on the exchequer,” asked Randeep

Even more interesting is the fact that according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Kerala has a wind potential of 1,699 MW but its infrastructure to tap into the potential is minimal. Currently, the state has the capacity to produce only 62 MW of energy through wind source. Despite the claims of wind being an unreliable source, the state could deliver more into the infrastructure thereby creating self-reliance and jobs. However, the unreliable nature of wind also doesn’t agree with giving such a large order to the Adani group.

This is also important in the context of a Supreme Court plea filed by the LDF government against the Adani Group taking over the management of the Trivandrum International Airport. “Whether opposition of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to handing over of Thiruvananthapuram Airport to Adani Group was a farce and façade to cover up other secret understanding?” asked Randeep, who was referring to the fact that despite their opposition to the airport takeover, they have handed over a Rs 8,785-Crore “unnecessary” deal to the subsidiary of the same group.

Moreover, he asked if there was a common link between the gold smuggling case, the suspicious refusal of central government agencies to act against the Chief Minister, cabinet ministers, and the Speaker of Legislative Assembly and the consequent award of 300 MW long term wind power project to Adani Group. “What is the special relationship enjoyed by Pinarayi Vijayan with Narendra Modi, which has prevented agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax department, the Central Bureau of Investigation from initiating action against the Kerala Chief Minister, three cabinet ministers and the Speaker?” asked Randeep Singh. The representatives of the state are yet to reply to these questions.

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