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PCL: Sonia charge not based on facts

THE STATE government on Sunday pitched in principal secretary (Energy) and UPPCL chairman AK Khurana to counter Sonia Gandhi?s statement in Rae Bareli on Saturday.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2006 01:44 IST

THE STATE government on Sunday pitched in principal secretary (Energy) and UPPCL chairman AK Khurana to counter Sonia Gandhi’s statement in Rae Bareli on Saturday.

Talking to the media persons at a hurriedly called press conference at the Shakti Bhawan here today, Khurana said her allegations that Rae Bareli was being given a step-motherly treatment were not based on facts.

He in fact sought to put the ball in the Centre’s court saying the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd’s (PGCIL) failure to set up a 220 kv transmission sub-station in Rae Bareli was not allowing the full power to reach the consumers. He claimed despite all odds and 1500 mw power shortage, the UPPCL was supplying round-the-clock electricity to Rae Bareli city and 14 hours of supply to the rural areas of the district.

Khurana said prior to the by-election in Rae Bareli, the district was getting electricity as per the normal roster. But a decision was taken to provide 24-hour supply to the district during the election under ‘special circumstances’, he said adding that the district was again brought under the normal power schedule as soon as the polls were over.

Khurana referred to Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s recent visit to Rae Bareli and his directives for increasing the power supply to the district and said the UPPCL officials assured the Minister of seeking necessary instruction in this regard from the higher authorities. After the talks with Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, directives were received for 24-hour supply to Rae Bareli city and 14 hours to the rural areas, he said adding the fresh directives came into effect from June 15.

Khurana said the State Government had decided to set up a 220kv transmission sub-station at Rae Bareli but the Central Government decided to get it constructed by the PGCIL He said the UPPCL even handed over the land acquired by it for the purpose to the PGCIL in October. But the sub-station was yet to come.

He said the matter was raised before the Union Power Minister during his Rae Bareli visit and the PGCIL officials promised that the sub-station would be ready by January 15 next year.

Khurana pointed that while the power requirement of Rae Bareli was 213 mw, the capacity of transmission lines to carry the power to the distribution point was only 12 mw. So, till the proposed 220 kv sub-station was not ready, all areas might not get 24 hour of supply even if we tried, Khurana explained.

He said the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) had imposed Rs 1 lakh fine on UPPCL last month for drawing excess power from the grid under low frequency.

But, he said, no action was taken against States of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi which also resorted to overdraw in June when the grid frequency was under the unsafe zone. This, he claimed, was an example of how the Centre was meting out a step-motherly treatment to UP.

When faced with some ‘uncomfortable’ questions, Khurana promptly clarified that he was not holding a brief for any political party but was only making factual statements as the head of the energy department.