|Monday, April 24, 2000,
tariff for farms in Haryana may go up
diseases on the rise
Power tariff for farms in
Haryana may go up
CHANDIGARH, April 23 The much stalled power sector reforms in Haryana are likely to restart with the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, today indicating his willingness to consider a hike in power tariff for the farm sector, hitherto being considered a sacred cow by the INLD leadership.
The hike in tariff will also clear the way for resumption of Rs 2400-crore loan by the World Bank, which was suspended following the states failure to initiate the hike process.
Mr Chautala told in an interview to PTI that the hike in the tariff of power supplied to the farm sector cannot be withheld for ever and already there has not been any tariff rise for many years for the agriculture sector.
When Mr Chautala was in Opposition, he had vehemently criticised the Bansi Lal government, which had signed the loan agreement with the World Bank, for agreeing to an increase in the power tariff for the farm sector. He had repeatedly said that as and when his party would come to power, the agreement would be scrapped.
After assuming power in July last the Chautala Government had been saying that it was reviewing the World Bank agreement and was exploring alternative avenues of financing the reforms in the power sector. However, the power utilities of the state signed the amended agreement with the World Bank, which was the first step for the resumption of loan.
It seems that the government has not been able to find an alternative source of financing the reforms. The Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam has recently floated public bonds for Rs 150 crore with a provision to retain another Rs 50 crore as oversubscription. According to reports, the bonds, which are to close on May 1 next, have not evoked an encouraging response.
Coming close on the heels of launching a campaign to recover huge arrears of power, particularly from the rural areas, Mr Chautalas indication of an increase in power tariff for the farm sector, the main constituency of the INLD, is indeed a bold decision.
Of course, his opponents will describe the decision as a surrender before the World Bank. For Mr Bansi Lal of the HVP, it will be naturally a vindication of his policies.
The hike in power tariff
will not be immediate. The power utilities of the state
will have to apply for the hike before the Haryana
Electricity Regulatory Commission, which will hold public
hearings on the proposal. The process will take at least
two months after the power utilities write to the
Thermal power plant
YAMUNANAGAR, April 23 A senior leader of the Congress has blamed the previous governments for delaying the Yamunanagar super thermal power plants construction.
Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala, a former President of the Haryana Congress and Irrigation Power Minister during the Congress regime, also blamed even his own government for the non-execution of the life-line of Haryana the thermal power plant.
Mr Surjewala while talking to The Tribune, today at Kartarpura village, 20 km from here disclosed that the late Rajiv Gandhi had agreed at one time to inaugurate the power plant but it was not pursued by the state government in 1986 and moreover elections were round the corner. He said 24 years ago the decision was taken to construct the thermal plant and 1150 acres was acquired for the same. He also claimed that during his tenure as Irrigation Power Minister in 1986 the central government, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Central Electricity Authority had granted the permission to the state government for the construction of the project. He added that after that the NTPC constructed colonies for about 52 officers, an office complex, a helipad and a godown.
He said that the post of the Chief Engineer was also filled. Mr Surjewala said that for the construction of the thermal project, an agreement was signed under which the Canadian government would complete the 250 MW unit. Afterwards, three more units of 250 MW each were to be constructed after a span of one year each. He said it was also decided that the capacity of the thermal project would be enhanced from 1000 MW to 1500 MW.
Mr Surjewala also blamed non-Congress governments for not taking the initiative for the commencement of the Yamunanagar super thermal power plant. He said if the previous governments took the initiative, there would have been all-round development in Haryana.
He said now it was the right time as there was a BJP-led government at the Centre and the BJP-INLD alliance in Haryana. Now there should be no delay in the completion of the project. Mr Surjewala felt concerned about the regular power cuts in Haryana. He said at this time the farmers needed power but it was not available round the clock and moreover the power voltage was also weak.
Water-borne diseases on the
ROHTAK, April 23 The town and nearby areas seem to be in grip of water-borne diseases like jaundice, diarrhoea and gastro-enteritis, as indicated by the reports of increase in the number of cases of these diseases. The district administration has taken cognisance of the complaints of the supply of contaminated water in many parts of the town and has set up a control room.
According to the information received from the PGIMS (OPD), Civil Hospital and various clinics, the number of patients suffering from jaundice (viral Hepatitis) and gastro-enteritis has risen sharply in the past fortnight. A large number of patients suffering from the diseases are school going children. The unchecked sale of unhygienic eatable is the main reason for the spread of this disease.
Residents of several colonies here have complained that they have been getting contaminated water through the piped water supply. The matter was brought to the notice of the authorities at the Jaundice Control Committee set up by the Deputy Commissioner. The Deputy Commissioner has asked the officials of the Public Health Department to take measures to ensure the supply of clean water to all colonies in the town. According to reports officials recently found out that one of the pipes supplying drinking water to Janata Colony and Naya Parao Colony in the town had been damaged completely because of rust and as a result the houses in the area had been getting contaminated water. While the pipe in this particular case has been replaced but complaints of similar nature have been pouring in from various other areas. Mixing of sewer and drain water with the drinking water in some parts of the town has also been reported in the past. The department concerned, however, does not conduct routine checks to ascertain the condition of water pipes. The authorities have also directed the department to clear up the garbage and sullage from the open drains and the main roads in some of the colonies, including Railway Road, Kacha Beri Road, Gurcharan Pura and adjoining areas.
Meanwhile, there is also a shortage of drinking water in some parts of the town. As a result of this women in several colonies have to struggle hard to fetch drinking water from handpumps.
The authorities on other
hand claimed that samples of water had been taken and at
least five teams had been set up to look into the
complaints. Large number of chlorine tablets have been
distributed to the residents as part of anti-jaundice
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