Saturday, October 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






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Power panels must for incentives
Union Minister tells states
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Oct 20 The states which do not constitute power regulatory commissions will not be given incentives, but there is no plan to impose restrictions on such states in the near future, says Union Power Minister Suresh P. Prabhu.

He was addressing mediapersons after attending a meeting of the Power Ministers of the region at UT Guest House here this evening. Mrs Jayawanti Mehta, Union Minister of State for Power, was also with him. The meeting was attended by ministers from Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, besides senior officers from the Central government and PSUs.

Reacting to an query on the issue of power to Punjab farmers free of cost, he said since the subject was in the Concurrent List, the state regulatory commission would decide in the matter.

But it was heartening to note that 14 states have already set up or are in the process of notifying the commission. Punjab was yet to notify the commission, he revealed.

The minister said the states which were ready to clear their dues to the Centre would be given additional benefits in terms of grants for the maintenance and upgradation of power generation facilities. A sum of Rs 1,000 crore has been earmarked for this purpose in the current Plan. He said the ministry agreed to help defaulting states which offered to float tax-free bonds to clear their dues.

He emphasised the need to involve the public sector in power generation, particularly in the northern region. Efforts were afoot to rope in parties to increase power generation facilities and meet the targets.

Mr Prabhu also expressed concern on the mounting dues of the central power supply units (CPSUs) and the state electricity boards. The northern states owe over Rs 11,000 crore, including surcharges, to the CPSUs. This has affected the performance of the CPSUs and created bottlenecks in the development of new projects. He stressed the need for evolving a suitable mechanism for the liquidation of dues to improve the performance of the CPSUs.

In this context, he had a meeting with Union Finance minister Yashwant Sinha and it was decided that power generation was a national priority and an inter-ministerial committee would be constituted which would meet every two weeks.

Earlier, while presiding over the meeting, he expressed concern over the system frequency of the Northern Grid which was below the statutory limit and was endangering the system's security. He emphasised that all the constituent systems needed to activate the under-frequency relays installed in their system at the prescribed setting to ensure the security of the grid.

The minister appealed to the states to restrict their energy drawal from the grid according to the daily schedule given by the NRLDC. He mentioned about the provision for maintenance of frequency in the prescribed range in the Indian Electricity Grid Code.

The other area of concern was the low voltage in the Northern Grid during the peak summer and winter months due to heavy agricultural and weather beating loads.

While there is an additional requirement of about 7,200 MVAR shunt capacitors during the year 2000-2001, only 10 per cent of the number has been installed. He appealed to the states to look into the matter and do the needful on a priority basis to improve the voltage profile. The participants agreed and also gave the nod for appointing a nodal officer for the purpose.

The minister also reviewed the progress of generating projects in the northern region. He was told that about 4,100 MW of capacity would be added during 2000-2001 and 2002. On short-term improvement, he said special attention would be paid towards the maximisation of import of surplus power from neighbouring states as well as through renovation, and modernisation and life extension of old power plants whose performance is not satisfactory. One of steps would be to maximise generation.

The termination of the Biharshariff-Sasaram-Allahabad 400 KVA double circuit line at Sarnath by March, 2001, would be ensured so that 350-500 MW of power could be transferred from the eastern region to the northern region. All identified transmission lines would be completed which were crucial for the import of power from the eastern region as well as the security of the northern national grid, he said. 
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