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PM unveils major hydro power initiative
May 24, 2003 12:55 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Saturday launched an 'initiative' for adding 50,000 mw of hydroelectric power in 16 states and said all villages would be electrified in the next four years, while electricity would be available on demand by 2012.
Assuring the states of financial and technical assistance to improve delivery of power to consumers, Vajpayee said: "In return, I expect an even strong response from the states. Malpractices, corruption, inefficiency and theft of electricity have to be banished from the power sector."
Addressing Power Ministers from states, executives of central power utilities and SEBs, Vajpayee said the Centre was giving the highest priority to hydro power as present stalled capacity of 27,000 mw was inadequate to meet peaking power shortage, and hoped the 50,000 mw additional capacity in the sector would be created by the 12th Five-Year Plan.
Vajpayee expressed concern over shortage of power and wastage of electricity in the country and said not only energy conservation measures were needed, but generation also should be doubled in the next ten years.
He attributed the distortion in energy mix, wherein share of hydro power in country's total capacity came down from 40 per cent two decades ago to 25 per cent now, to slow pace of implementation of projects in the sector for various reasons.
Emphasising that consumers had waited too long for quality and reliable power supply, Vajpayee said: "In today's context of development, electricity has emerged as a basic requirement. It should be the mandate of every government and private initiative to provide this basic necessity to its citizens."
Vajpayee underscored the need for a 'major overhaul' in the power sector and said necessity for reforms had been acknowledged by all states.
"Only unequivocal reform measures will result in turnaround of the power sector," he said.
Dubbing hydro power as clean and environment-friendly source of power generation, he said, "As there is no cost of fuel in hydro power, the cost of generation should be less and be free from the effect of inflation."
The Central Electricity Authority had completed the ranking study of 399 hydroelectric schemes with potential of 107,000 mw, he said adding the present initiative through 162 schemes would open up investment opportunities.
Vajpayee said the long-awaited projects like Tehri, Indira Sagar and Naptha Jhakri were likely to be commissioned shortly and added that a turnaround in hydro power project execution was in the offing.
He said government had already taken some measures to accelerate the pace of execution of hydro power projects through adoption of a 3-stage clearance process.
Nevertheless, he said, "The time cycle of approvals including environment clearance could be further compressed. There seems to be an urgent need for a coordinated approach through appropriate institutional mechanism for rapid development of hydro power projects."
As part of the 50,000 mw hydroelectric initiative, the power ministry prepared feasibility studies for 162 projects in 16 states to be completed by central power utilities like National Hydroelectic Power Corporation, North Eastern Electric Power Corporation, state utilities and other organisations.
Even though a decision on implementation agencies is yet to be taken, NHPC Chairman Yogendra Prasad said on the sidelines of the conference that his Corporation alone was capable of adding 40,000 mw during the period 2007-17.
For the development of hydro power in the country, the outlay for central power sector has been raised from Rs 12,306 crore (Rs 123.06 billion) during the 9th Plan to Rs 25,839 crore (Rs 258.39 billion) in the 10th Plan period, while the budgetary support has gone up from Rs 9,284 crore (Rs 92.84 billion) to Rs 17,511 crore (Rs 175.11 billion).
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