M A I N   N E W S

Surplus Delhi, MP power for Punjab
Starts getting 200 MW from western grid
Prashant Sood and Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

New Delhi/Patiala, July 27
The Centre has come to Punjab’s rescue in coping with the difficult power situation by assuring to give “off-peak power surplus” from Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. The Centre was also favourably inclined to the state’s demand of power from the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station, Punjab government officials said.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, yesterday met Union Power Minister P.M. Sayeed, seeking the Centre’s help in meeting the power shortfall.

The officials said Punjab, which was facing a power shortfall of 328 lakh units per day, was likely to get off-peak surplus of about 100 lakh units per day from Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. Most of the off-peak surplus would come from Delhi, they said.

Officials said the availability of additional 100 lakh units per day would help the state “manage” the shortfall. They said with rain lashing some areas of Himachal Pradesh, the reservoirs of dams in Punjab were expected to be recharged.

The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) started getting 200 MW power from the western grid late last night. However, the state had been unsuccessful in ensuring an increase in its power share from the unallocated Central pool.

Besides, the PSEB was in the process of constituting teams to check the use of air-conditioners in Punjab Government offices. Sources said these teams could also monitor the closure timings of various markets in the state.

Meanwhile, sources said the PSEB managed to save about 60 lakh to 70 lakh units yesterday following regulatory measures taken by it, including a ban on the use of air-conditioners in offices and change of timings for schools and markets in the state.

The board had being forced to make announcements in Samana threatening shopkeepers with disconnection if they refused to close shops by 6 p.m.

Sources, however, said despite conservation steps, the demand continued to outstrip supply.

Against a demand of 1,370 lakh units, the board was able to get only 1,180 lakh units.

While most markets in the district were closing down between 6 and 6.30 p.m., the Samana Market Association had refused to obey the orders yesterday. Today PSEB officials made announcements that connections of consumers who continued to keep their shops open after 6 p.m. would be disconnected. The announcements did have some effect, but sources said, around 40 per cent of the shops remained open even after the 6p.m. deadline.

Shopkeepers feel the government has not kept their interests in mind while framing the new rules. Most of them feel the government could have announced a late opening in the morning, or ensured a four-hour closure in the afternoon. “Closing shops in the evening when people get out of their homes to make purchases does not make any sense”, said Ms Nandi Ram of Samana.

Meanwhile, power cuts, in rural areas have extended to 13.15 hours officially. Sources said at some places the power cuts were even lengthier. In important cities, the power cuts have extended up to eight hours for the first time since the power crisis struck the State.

Power cuts have become frequent even in Patiala, the hometown of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, which was earlier being kept out of the ambit of frequent cuts. Sources said Ludhiana was the most affected due to its urban industrial nature.


Aid for drought-hit states
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 27
The Centre today assured drought-hit states of all possible assistance and promised to consider the demand for funds to deal with the situation.

Following a directive from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chaturvedi summoned the Chief Secretaries for individual consultations to assess the situation in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Maharashtra.

The states sought Central assistance to meet the challenges and discussed a contingency crop plan to be put in place in case the rains got delayed.

The Centre assured all assistance to the affected states and promised to consider any demand made for the release of funds.

While no immediate demand for the funds was raised, the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana sought Central intervention for ensuring adequate power supply and other logistical assistance.

“While it is early to declare these state as drought-hit, we want to take adequate measures to tackle the problems due to inadequate rains there”, a senior official said, adding that the meeting focused on the logistical and other basic requirements to save crops.Back

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