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Aug 07, 2012, 08.43 AM IST
Verappa Moily did not have a very auspicious start at the power ministry. The lights quite literally went out on him.
Three of India's five transmission grids collapsed on Tuesday, cutting power to thirteen states in Northern and Eastern India. That blackout, one of the world's worst, followed a similar breakdown across the north the previous day.
As of now, the only explanation offered is that state departments withdrew over their allocation, causing a failure in the power grids. To get to the root cause of the problem, newly appointed power minister Moily formed a committee, which comprises of industry experts, experts from the field and from the ministry itself.
Moily tells CNBC-TV18 that the committee will submit the report within August 15.
Moily, who also handles the corporate affairs portfolio, has also called officials of the states that overdrew for a meeting on August 7 to emphasise the need for discipline.
Below is an edited transcript of his interview with Shereen Bhan.
Q: You haven't had a very auspicious start at the power ministry, the lights quite literally went out on you. Is there an update on what could have caused the power outage? So far, with the exception of the obvious theory of states overdrawing beyond their allocation, nothing seems to have come through in terms of the reason?
A: We have not come out with the authentic reason till today because it is only calculations and sometimes we imagine certain things. I don't think the matter like this can be very lightly looked into.
Q: But when is the committee that you have set up likely to come out with reasons?
A: I have now broad based the committee because it should not appear that it is very subjective. It should not be only insiders, so we have yesterday added some more people. We have added one person from IIT Kharagpur, a cyber expert and other outsiders who are experts.
I am also trying to induct Mr. Balwinder Singh, former special director of CBI, who has now retired.
Q: Why would you want to appoint former CBI director onto the committee?
A: Because he has always been a consultant with me in the corporate affairs ministry. So I thought we can take advantage of his presence also.
Q: So now since you have broad based this committee, by when do you expect this committee to actually submit its report?
A: I think by 15th August the report will come.
Q: By 15th August we will know or at least hope to know what would have led to the world’s largest black out?
A: Yes, very much.
Q: I understand that you have also called the errant officials of the states that overdrew for a meeting on August 7. What do you hope to achieve at the end of that meeting, because there already is a laid out formula in terms grid discipline. Yet, year after year, states like UP do not comply with the grid discipline. So what do you hope to achieve at the end of this meeting?
A: The idea is that to take everybody into confidence in ensuring that whatever the normalcy which we have achieved should be sustained in the future because we need their corporation ultimately. I have spoken to the chief ministers, except to the Punjab chief minister, and I have personally written a letter. I would like to take them into confidence that I will endeavor to ensure that certain discipline is maintained and also there cooperation on many other things.
Q: That discipline, we have seen in the past as well that states have erred as far as grid discipline is concerned. So what can be done to actually make these penalties act us true deterrent, which is what they should be, but they haven't be acting like deterrents. What more can be done?
A: I can appreciate their problem also, but at the same time they should understand that a tragedy like what has happened in the last 3-4 days will ultimately cause them more damage. It will also damage the image of the country on the investment side. So that is why in the best interest of the country one has to conform to the power code and discipline.
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