Traders to meet ministers; explain the crushing impact of power cuts

Members of trade bodies would meet energy and power ministers on Wednesday in Belagavi where the Assembly session is taking place- to discuss the power crises.

They would express their displeasure over the acute shortage that has hit their businesses harder.

Industry associations say they had to put up with three to four hours of blackouts every day. While big industries function with battery back-ups, smaller units that cannot afford such facilities suffer the most.

Among the trade bodies to meet the ministers are Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (Kassia), Peenya Industries Association and Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI).

Kassia's chairman of energey committee Srinath Bhandary said the delegation would apprise the ministers of the problems affecting the industries due to blackouts.

"Power cuts are an added problem to us, as we are already suffering due to recession," he said. "There seems to be no end to the blackouts."

While industries in Bengaluru endure 2-3 hour blackouts, those in other parts of the state put up with 4-6 hour outages, Bhandary said.

Out of 100,000 SMEs in the state, 18000 function out of Bengaluru. Peenya alone houses 12000 of them, while the others are scattered across Bommasandra, Kamakshipalya, Bidadi, Harohalli and surrounding areas.

The industries are also working out details on buying power from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Member of Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission's advisory committee Prabhakar said suggestions had been given to the government even last year to buy power from Andhra Pradesh that has 10,000 Mu of surplus power which it offers at subsidized rates.

As power remains a basic need of the industry, its shortage would deter investors who will not take any confidence from the lack of support to existing companies. The situation could cause a huge setback to the state's economy.

Bangalore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Kishore Alva said the government is in trouble without good roads, power and other essential ingredients to a healthy business environment.

While thermal power is a major source, the government is turning a blind eye to obsolete units like RTPS.

Several industries have shown interest in setting up solar plants, but the deals struck with them remain only on paper due to government's carelessness.

The coal imported for many KPC projects have not yet been commissioned, he said.

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