Moving ahead with the agenda of reforming and re-energising India’s power sector, Jyotiraditya Scindia — who has completed 100 days as the minister of state for power with independent charge — is going all out to fix issues plaguing the development of the sector.
Speaking to HT on the sidelines of his first news conference after assuming charge, Scindia said he was confident of a steady capacity addition in the sector despite constraints of adequate fuel supply that is restraining the growth of the sector.
“While fuel shortages needs to be addressed at the earliest, I am happy to inform that fuel supply agreements (FSAs) for 21,000-MW capacity have been signed between power developers and coal companies,” said Scindia, adding, agreements for another 14,000-MW of thermal power capacity will also be signed soon by National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) by month end.
Announcing that a power capacity of over 2,500 MW has been added during his 100 days as power minister, including 2,418 MW of coal-based capacity and 125 MW of hydel power capacity, Scindia also mentioned about the fortnightly monitoring mechanism that has been put in place by him to ensure speedy development of coal mines by NTPC.
Following Scindia’s push, NTPC could get back the three coal mines that were de-allocated and taken back from it by the coal ministry.
“I am personally monitoring the development of these mines by NTPC and am sure that soon we will get together again to talk about the achievements,” said Scindia, adding, NTPC has applied for six more blocks following revised provisions of the environment ministry for clearing thermal (or coal-based) power projects.
Scindia also shared the details of a six-pronged institutional mechanism that has been put in place and which he said would serve as a “360 degree problem identification and solving process” to push speedy development of projects across the sector, be it power generation, transmission or distribution.
Under the mechanism, Scindia said he has sought regular interactions of state power ministers and secretaries (a recent meeting was held in the Capital on February 5) besides holding periodic meetings of the parliamentary consultative committee.
Scindia has set a record of holding three meetings in the last three months on various critical issues facing the sector.
In addition, Scindia said he has also constituted an advisory group of industrialists including Reliance Power chairman Anil Ambani and Tata Power chairman Cyrus Mistry besides economists and former bureaucrats to jointly work out solutions to challenges faced by the power sector such as adequate fuel supply, cost of fuel and timely clearances.
The first such meeting of the group attended by 22 leading private power developers was held on Tuesday.
Scindia said the advisory group will meet again in the next 15 days for further review.