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Power sector hungry for skilled staff

business Updated: Nov 05, 2009 20:44 IST
Anupama Airy

The government’s ambitious plans for the power sector could well go off the rails due to a shortage of skilled manpower in the sector.

According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the advisory body of the power ministry, there is an estimated additional manpower requirement of 10 lakh persons — more than 30 per cent of them skilled workers — in the XI Plan period and 16.6 lakh in the XII Plan period to meet the capacity addition targets of 78,700 mega watt by 2012 and 1 lakh mw by 2017.

The CEA feels the situation may well worsen if visa issues affect inflow of labour from overseas. In a recent letter to the power ministry, it said, “At present the shortage of skilled manpower is a major constraint... encountered both by
developers and contractors during implementation of projects.”

CEA Chairman Rakesh Nath told Hindustan Times, “As this problem is acute especially for hydro-power projects, which are located in far-flung hilly areas, CEA has proposed inclusion of the cost of skill development in and around the project area as part of the project cost of generation and transmission projects.”

“We have requested the ministry of power to approve this proposal and make appropriate changes in this regard in the national electricity policy, the tariff policy and the standard bidding documents for award of projects to developers.”