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Alarmed govt finally looks at the power sector

Alarmed by acute power shortage, the state government has finally readied itself to invest in electricity generation and enhancing distribution network, reports Dharmendra Jore.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2009 01:14 IST
Dharmendra Jore

Alarmed by acute power shortage, the state government has finally readied itself to invest in electricity generation and enhancing distribution network.

This appears to be a welcome move because the state has been ignoring the sector every five-year plan.

Presenting the Budget for the year 2009-10, Finance Minister Dilip Walse-Patil, who earlier headed power portfolio for almost four years, announced a share capital of Rs 463 and Rs 454 crore respectively for power generation projects and feeder separation programmes.

The minister declared a huge amount of Rs 1,945 crore for meeting the demand and supply gap and sanctioned Rs 126 crore for single phasing scheme that will ensure uninterrupted power for rural domestic consumers.

In recent times, the state added 500 megawatts (MW) to its thermal generation capacity. Another 250 MW from Ghatghar hydro project has also been made available.

Dabhol’s Ratnagiri Gas and Power Company has upped its supply to 900 MW but its irregular due to frequent breakdowns. Some 500 MW will come by September 2009 from thermal plant expansion at Paras and Parali.

Despite this, the demand for power has increased manifold making the state’s efforts ineffective. Now about 4,500 MW, the shortage will be plugged only if government made sustained investment.

The state’ problem have compounded because private producers are finding it difficult to push ahead their proposed plants due to several issues such as land acquisition.