Brighter Days Now - A Road to Provide 24X7 Electricity in Gujarat
BRIGHTER DAYS NOW!
Picture Gujarat in the year 2001. I’ll tell you how it all looked. The power sector was in ruins and the entire system was prosaic and almost dead, with a lot of shortage of power. But change the picture now. When Modi stepped into the position of the Chief Minister of Gujarat in the year 2001, he noticed the state of the power system and indentified the need to create a real change and that worked! Let us see the story.
The costs and losses in that year were unimaginably high and uncontrollable. It was getting out of hand. The Gujarat State Electricity Board hardly had funds to make more investments and private sectors could not be encouraged to invest. Modi recognized the need of having someone capable, with knowledge and grit to preside as the chairperson of the GSEB and Manjula Subramaniam was the right person for that!
Manjula recognized the poor status of the GSEB but did not want to rush on things. She took it slowly and concentrated on two things- Improving the power utility’s finances and building employee morale. The interest rates of loans were exceptionally high and she had to convince banks and financial institutions to lower the rates so that efficiency could be established. And that did work! A lot of money was saved.
The next step was to talk to the power suppliers about lowering the rates. Though that took a lot of convincing and bargaining, it was established in the end. Things were going well, but that wasn’t the ‘happily ever after’. There were culprits who were thieves of power and they had to be stopped. Austerity was adopted by Modi and rules were made to curb the unfair practices. Manjula strived hard to provide her employees with loyalty towards the GSEB. Most of the employees felt alienated and recognized no existence of job security which encouraged the former to hire a consultant to negotiate with the employees and win their trusts back, and again, she was successful.
To empower the employees, board meetings were held and everyone was encouraged to put forward queries and questions, which boosted their morale. Rural areas needed power for two purposes- agricultural purposes and household purposes. The distribution sort of caused confusion and lack of power and so Modi came up with an idea. He encouraged the people to have separate feeders and although that added to the cost, it also led to better quality to power.
Moreover, it was ensured that no political pressure bothered the power supply. All this gave a bundle of positive responses. The profits had risen and the losses turned almost negligible. But the losses are higher in comparison to the states in the southern part of India.
But, let us look understand the relevance of this story. In the year 2001, the power system in the state was in shreds, ruined and meager. Now, they have surplus power and a few strategies and healthy management created this much needed difference! Sometimes a simple move can create wonders. A decade and we see a much brighter Gujarat!