Maharashtra MLAs demand the establishment of Energy Committee in the Assembly
Members of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly recently petitioned the Speaker of the Assembly to form a standing committee on Energy in the Assembly. This is the first time that the Maharashtra MLAs have raised such an issue in the Assembly, cutting across party affiliations. Fourteen MLAs from Congress, NCP, BJP,MNS and Shiv Sena signed the petition and submitted it to the Speaker of the Assembly. Maharashtra Assembly neither has an energy committee nor an environment committee, to have a legislative overview on these issues.
According to the MLAs, a Standing Committee on Energy, as is there in the Parliament, should focus on the key issues and gaps in the energy sector, as well as evaluate how renewable energy in Maharashtra can be further harnessed to meet the needs of our people, especially in villages. Such a committee can function as a legislative surveillance over the administration, while focusing on long-term plans, policies and initiatives, and guiding the state Government.
MLA Mr. Jay Kumar Rawal led the delegation and submitted the letter to Mr. Dilip Dattatraya Walse Patil, Speaker, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. The letter is signed by MLAs Dhanraj Chougule, Harish Pimple, Prof Ram Shinde, Rahul Mote, Manglesh Sangle, Chandrashekhar Bawonkule, Ashish Jaiswal, Dr Balaji Kinikar, Dr Sujit Minachekar and Chandredeep Narake. Maharashtra MLAs have recently formed a multi-party network in the Assembly to work towards the development of renewable energy in the state. Mr. Jay Kumar Rawal, MLA, is the convener of the multi-party network.
The MLAs letter to the Speaker has concretely identified some immediate and important areas of interventions for the Energy Committee. The Committee can identify key areas requiring immediate and long term Government interventions, so that the overall objectives of inclusive development, energy security, clean energy access, affordability and energy efficiency are met. It can periodically monitor the progress of key policy decisions and their effectiveness and can strengthen the dialogue on various aspects amongst various stakeholders of improving energy scenario through sustainable means in the state. The letter suggests that the committee should facilitate transparency in energy governance in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra MLAs are collectively working on renewable energy issues in the context of growing power demands and deficit in the state. In 2012-13, the state had the peak demand of 17934 MW (CEA 2013-14) which was one of the highest in the country. Maharashtra also had a peak deficit of 6.5% during the same year (CEA 2013-14).In the past few years, the state has been facing a grim power demand-supply scenario as seen from the fact that in the last 8 years the average peak power deficit in the state has been over 15% (CEA).To meet the ever growing power needs, the Government of Maharashtra is taking steps to generate more thermal power. Industries in Maharashtra also pay some of the highest prices for electricity compared to other states. According to the MLAs, there is a tremendous opportunity to improve the overall power scenario in the state through setting up renewable energy projects in both grid connected and off grid mode.