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|March 23, 1998||
All fast-track power projects to be cleared: Kumaramangalam
The Centre will clear all fast-track power projects by the end of the year.
Power Minister P R Kumarmangalam said that the his ministry would clear the remaining five of the eight fast-track power projects by December this year. Three such projects were already at different stages of commissioning.
Out of the power projects awaiting counterguarantees, some have yet to finalise their fuel supply agreement. Of the eight FTP ,the government has awarded counterguarantees to Enron's Dabhol Power project and GVK's Jagrupadu Power project in Andhra Pradesh.
Spectrum Technology, which was promoting the Godavari power project in Andhra Pradesh, has already opted out of the counterguarantee. The plant's installed capacity is of 200 mw.
The counterguarantee to the lignite-based 250 mw Neyveli power project in Tamil Nadu was cleared by the I K Gujral cabinet two months ago.
The power minister said that a number of other power projects off the shelf would now be cleared fast.
The power projects seeking counterguarantees would be cleared if the promoters fulfilled the all the conditions required in the power policy, he said.
Kumarmangalam said that the Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha had assured him that funds would not be a hurdle in the core sector development to galvanise the economy.
The minister said that the government would welcome the foreign investment in the power sector, but "we are not going to depend on these investments fully and internal resources too, would be mobilised to meet the country's generation requirements."
The minister said he would shortly seek approval of the cabinet for three separate electricity bills to improve the various segments of the power sector. The transmission bill, energy efficiency bill, and regulatory bill would be introduced in Parliament shortly.
The energy efficiency bill will deal at the consumers level to make the conservation of energy effective.
The transmission bill will pave way for improving of this sector considerably and it will also lure private investment substantially.
The minister said that the Centre would now concentrate on the distribution network as "this area lacked required attention and it was substantially responsible for the erratic power supply in certain parts of the country."
According to him, on every rupee spent on generation, an equal amount was to be matched in the distribution area, but there was lot of backlog on that front.
Saying that the plant load factor of most of the state electricity boards is satisfactory, he said that the National Thermal Power Corporation plants were running on more than 70 per cent plant load factor.
He said that the country would be able to achieve the Ninth Plan target by year 2002. While the public sector would achieve 50,000 mw target, the private sector would account for 16,000 mw.
Listing his priorities, Kumarmangalam said improving the efficiency of existing units by working on the renovation and modernisation policy for the state electricity boards was high on the agenda. He also indicated that the policy of allowing 100 per cent foreign equity in the power projects would be continued on a case by case basis. The power ministry also would look into regulations that can monitor tariffs.
He said he had his reservations about use of liquid fuel because of volatility of prices of fuels like naphtha.
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