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More power for Punjab, Haryana
New power policy by Aug-end
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
The government will announce new Electricity Policy by the end of next month that will focus on rural electrification, reliable and cheap power supply across the country through competition between public and private sectors and additional power generation.

The draft of the policy has been circulated among states, and after getting feedback from the states, the final draft of the policy will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval.

Keeping in view severe shortage of power in Punjab, Haryana and other states, the Centre has also decided to allocate power to these states from the central pool to save paddy and other crops that are under stress after delay in monsoon.

Talking on the sidelines of the national conference of hydro-power professionals, Union Power Minister P.M. Syeed today admitted that due to shortfall in rains in the catchment areas of the major hydel projects, power generation had fallen by around 2 per cent. The government was making efforts to meet the shortfall in power from thermal units.

Regarding the highlights of the new power policy, he disclosed that the thrust of the new policy would be on the improvement in consumer services, reliable power supply to the rural and remote areas, besides checking wide-spread power pilferage in the country.

"Power pilferage has become a serious problem in the country. We have urged the states to take effective steps to check the menace affecting the whole economy. Some states including West Bengal, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, have taken measures to control it, but others should also come forward," he said adding that under the Constitution power was a "concurrent" subject, on which states could enact laws with the consent of the Centre.

"Since at present about 56 per cent of the rural households have no access to power supply, the new power policy will emphasise on enabling them to access power as visualised under the National Common Minimum Programme," he said adding that under the Electricity Act- 2003, the states had been given time of two months to one year to unbundle state electricity utilities.

Regarding the expected gains of the new policy, Mr R.V.Shahi, Power Secretary, claimed that power reforms initiated under the Electricity Act-2003, would bring down the cost of power in the near future.

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