ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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SEB Privatisation Transcending the Issue of Ownership

SEB Privatisation: Transcending the Issue of Ownership Subodh Wagle Girish Sant Shantanu Dixit WE are glad that EPW is continuing the debate on the important issue of power sector privatisation. Arun Ghosh, in his article (EPW, July 19) argues that APSEB has been working most efficiently and, with limited tariff hike, not just APSEB but all SEBs can raise the required resources for expansion. Hence, for him, privatisation of SEBs and their unbundling are not needed and are unnecessarily promoted by the World Bank and other pro-privatisation lobbies. To support his arguments, he cites data regarding plant availability, auxiliary consumption and the tariff hike required to achieve 3 per cent ROR. His opposition to privatisation arises mainly from fears of rent seeking by politicians and officials, expropriation of assets and excessive profiteering by the private sector and failure to arrive at sector-level optimality due to the proposed unbundling. He predicts that the proposed privatisation of APSEB will lead to high cost of power resulting in loss of access for rural consumers (including farmers) with adverse impacts on food security and development of rural areas.

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