The ministers of the key energy portfolios of power and petroleum met Wednesday to finalise a plan to increase power generation in the country that would also involve operating 16,000 MW of gas-based plants lying stranded for lack of fuel.Power Minister Piyush Goyal met Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan here to craft a rescue package, although no specific details were forthcoming."We are drawing up plans to increase the generation of power, to put national assets to good use and keep the energy cost affordable with a sustained policy framework," Goyal told reporters after the meeting."Today's meeting was a precursor to final decisions which will be taken very fast," he added.
Informed sources told IANS that the plan could involve both rescheduling of loans to power companies as well as making available gas at an affordable price by pooling the price of cheaper domestic gas with the more expensive imported LNG.The petroleum minister said the government is taking an overall view of the myriad problems plaguing the power sector for a long time.
"We looked at all options including problems of gas-based plants. We have decided to resolve all the problems, from bankers issues to fuel issues," Goyal said.The national context overall is one of precarious financial health of state-run distribution companies. These had a debt burden by end-March 2012, of a staggering Rs.246,000 crore, for which the government approved a restructuring package in September 2012.