Solar energy to help save Rs 1,000 cr in power purchase bill annually: Himachal CM Sukhu : The Tribune India

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Solar energy to help save Rs 1,000 cr in power purchase bill annually: Himachal CM Sukhu

5-day winter session begins in Dharamsala, no confrontation between Congress, BJP on Day 1

Solar energy to help save Rs 1,000 cr in power purchase bill annually: Himachal CM Sukhu

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu addresses the House on the first day of the winter session of the Assembly in Dharamsala on Tuesday.

Tribune News Service

Lalit Mohan

Dharamsala, December 19

The five-day winter session of the 14th Vidhan Sabha started at the Assembly complex at Tapovan in Dharamsala today. The security in the Assembly complex was beefed up following the recent security breach in Parliament.

Stop wood export

  • Dehra MLA Hoshiyar Singh stressed the need for completely stopping wood export from the state and its use as biomass. The government should exploit geo-thermal, biogas and wind power at a large scale, he said.

Promote solar power

  • Mandi (Sadar) MLA Anil Sharma said that there was need to promote solar energy at a large scale on barren land in the state so that the youth get employment near their homes and electricity production also increases.

Strengthen output

  • Newly inducted Cabinet Minister Rajesh Dharmani said that Himachal Pradesh should strengthen its energy production so that it did not have to purchase electricity at high rates from other states during the winter.

Water cess

  • Trilok Jamwal, BJP MLA from Bilaspur, opposed the cancellation of the 800 MW power projects by the government. He said that it was wrong to impose water cess on the projects, the MoUs for which were signed years ago.

The proceedings started with the House paying homage to BJP MLA from Chamba, BK Chauhan. A two-minute silence was also observed to show respect to the late MLA.

The first day of the winter session ended without a major confrontation between the ruling and opposition members. The House was conducted smoothly with both ruling and opposition members participating in debates actively.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu tabled five bills, which were passed by the Assembly during the monsoon session and had also got the assent of the Governor. The House debated the issue of the stoppage of a passage to the ‘Gausadan’ in Nurpur raised by BJP MLA Ranvir Nikka.

Sukhu, while participating in the debate over tapping of renewable energy sources in the state, said that the government would change the energy policy to make Himachal self-reliant. “The government aims to harness 500 MW of solar energy by December next year. During winter, Himachal purchases electricity from neighbouring states at expensive rates. By achieving the set target of solar energy production, the government will save Rs 1,000 crore on electricity purchase every year,” he added.

Sukhu said that the state’s largest 32 MW solar power plant would be established at Pekhuwala in Una district in the next four months. “The government aims to make Himachal a green energy state by 2026. For this, solar energy is being exploited increasingly. The government is giving 50 per cent subsidy on the purchase of electric vehicles. Under the Rajiv Gandhi Start-up Scheme, 50 per cent subsidy will be given to the youth to purchase e-taxis. So far, 582 youth have applied for purchasing e-vehicles under the scheme. The government is also working to exploit phosphorus energy,” he added.

He accused the BJP of ignoring the interests of the state. “The BJP government gave the Luhri-Sunni and Dhaula Siddh power projects to the SJVN on easy terms but our government would either withdraw these projects or hand these over to the SJVN on its own terms. The Centre also created hurdles in the recovery of water cess. State BJP leaders should take up the water cess issue with its central leadership,” he added.

Leader of the Opposition Jai Ram Thakur said, “The Chief Minister is making wrong statements on the issue of water cess. Even in Uttarakhand and J&K, water cess is not being collected from Central projects. The letter of the Central Government was for all states and not for Himachal alone,” he added.

Earlier, Chaitanya Sharma, Congress MLA from Gagret (Una), said the Chief Minister’s vision to make Himachal a green state and promote renewable energy would lead to the promotion of e-vehicles.

Hansraj, BJP member from Churah, said, “We are discussing renewable energy because we have failed to ensure proper energy production. The state has immense hydro power potential, then why there is a discussion on energy generation from other sources. We are talking about solar energy but there are many problems in this sector also. How the waste generated from solar energy will be disposed of after 20 years?”

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