India hinders Power Projects in Tamil Nadu
TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 1998 (ID. 1998-10-03)
Electric power is key to industrial development. While the Indian government is pouring substantial sums of tax money into Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh for power generation by way of central government grants and five-year plans, Tamil Nadu (and many other non-Hindi states) are short-changed. Here is some statistics to support this point of view.
Power shortage in Uttar Pradesh = 9.3%
Power shortage in Tamil Nadu = 16.4 %
In essence, power shortage in Tamilnadu is almost twice as much as in Hindi speaking Uttar Pradesh (1.76 times to be more precise). If the Indian government is fair to all states, it is logical for it to give more funds to Tamil Nadu and other states with higher shortage and to give fewer funds to Uttar Pradesh which has a lower percentage of shortage. But the Indian government is doing just the opposite. It continues to pour more of the tax money into Uttar Pradesh and Madya Predesh and continues to neglect Tamil Nadu and other non-Hindi states.
Since the Indian government is giving relatively little money for power project developments in Tamil Nadu in spite of our repeated requests, the Tamil Nadu State Government decided to fund it on its own from our own money. A Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal and a 2000 MW power plant were planned at Ennore at a cost of 84 billion Rupees. Preliminary schedules and designs were arranged with major construction companies that have the necessary technical expertise. But the Tamil Nadu government could not go ahead with the project. Reason? Even though we (the people of Tamil Nadu) are funding it one hundred percent and even though it is going to be built on our soil, in no way affecting any other state, the Indian government is delaying and delaying approval of the project. Several requests from Tamil Nadu State Government to Indian Government Surface Transport Ministry did not get the necessary approval. Delay continued. So the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu wrote to Indian Prime Minister on September 1, 1998 telling him that "lack of response (about the delay) was disconcerting'' and informed him that the delay would impose enormous financial risks on the State Government (The Hindu; September 4, 1998).
Indian government's neglect and discrimination of Tamil Nadu vis-a-vis Hindi speaking Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh is not limited to power generation. I presented data in an earlier article on how Tamil Nadu is getting the short end of the stick in drinking water projects when compared to Madhya Predesh and Uttar Pradesh [Reference 1].
Taking all these things together, we have to wonder if the Indian government is taking a concerted effort to push forth the Hindi heartland and hold down non-Hindi areas like the southern states, north-east, West Bengal, Punjab and Assam.
1. India gets an Atomic Bomb and Tamils lose their Drinking Water! (by P. V. Velu), TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 1998.