THE UNION Government has set a target of electrifying all villages in the country by 2009 and providing free power connections to people living below the poverty line.
Union Energy Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said this during the foundation stone-laying ceremony of 400-KV double circuit Korba-Birsinghpur-Damoh-Bhopal transmission line of the Power Grid Corporation Of India Ltd (POWERGRID) at Sukhi Sevania here on Wednesday.
Shinde also announced opening up of a Regional Inspection Office of the POWERGRID in Bhopal in the next couple of months. Shinde also assured to start a nuclear power station in MP in future.
The minister called on all states to improve power generation and capacity addition in the power sector. “The Union Government is ready to help the states in all possible ways but it is the prime responsibility of states to improve power generation,’’ Shinde said. He emphasised the power sector was an area that could easily help take the nation’s growth rate to 9 per cent by next year.
Shinde also said the per capita consumption of electricity in India was presently 660 units but the target was to take it up to 1000 units in the coming years. Shinde lauded the POWERGRID for laying the 400-KV power transmission line in a record period of eight months pointing out that it usually took around three years to do the same.
The minister said 10 more ultra mega power projects were planned across the country in the coming years besides the two being set up currently in MP and Gujarat.
Union Personnel Minister Suresh Pachauri, State Industries Minister Babulal Gaur, Lok Sabha MP Kailash Joshi, Bhopal Mayor Sunil Sood, Bhopal Nagar Panchayat President Chetan Patidar, POWERGRID CMD Dr R P Singh and several other officials and members of the public were present on the occasion.
Earlier in the day, Shinde also laid foundation stone for extension of a 400 KV sub station and construction of a 220 KV switchyard at Itarsi. Shinde arrived in Bhopal in the morning by regular flight and was welcomed at the airport by
Mayor Sunil Sood, AICC Member Manohar Bothra and others. The minister left Bhopal in the evening by a charter flight.