Union power minister to dedicate two NTPC units in Bihar today
Union power, new and renewable energy minister RK Singh will review implementation of central schemes in power sector in Bihar, including the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM Kusum) scheme, which hasn’t seen much progress in the state, officials said.
In Singh’s presence, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar will dedicate the 500 MW stage-II units of Barauni Thermal Power Station and 660 MW unit 1 of the Barh Super Thermal Power project from Barh in Patna district on Saturday.
Both Barh and Barauni units are run by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
The first component of the PM Kusum scheme involves setting up decentralised ground mounted grid connected renewable power plants of individual plant size up to 2 MW, said an office memorandum of the ministry of New and Renewable Energy, dated July 22, 2019.
As part of initiating work on this scheme, the state energy department has decided to invite farmers and private land owners set up grid connected solar plants of 500 kW to 2 MW capacity, said officials of the energy department privy to the scheme.
“All an individual has to do is bear the cost of setting up the solar plant. The state discoms will purchase the entire power thus generated at a rate to be decided by the regulator — the Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC). They will also bear the cost of laying transmission line for carrying power from the solar power grid of private land owners to its distribution system,” said the official who did not wish to be named.
Central scheme yet to take off
Much of the ground work and inter-department coordination between the discoms — the north and the south Bihar power distribution companies — and the Bihar Renewable Energy Development Agency (BREDA) was lacking, said government sources, even as the discoms want to showcase initiation of work under the PM’s scheme to the Central team on Saturday.
“We are yet to identify the potential areas in the state where the scheme can be rolled out and farmers or land owners be invited to set up grid connected solar plants of 500 kW to 2 MW capacity,” said an official who did not wish to be identified.
The central scheme is envisaged against the backdrop that India has committed to increasing the share of installed capacity of electric power from non-fossil-fuel sources to 40% by 2030. The Union cabinet had approved scaling up of solar power target from 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power projects to 1,00,000 MW by 2022.
While large scale solar power generation projects are being installed to achieve the ambitious target of 100 GW of solar power generation by 2022, it has been planned to simultaneously develop decentralised solar energy and other renewable energy generation plants of capacity up to 2 MW which could be connected directly to existing 33/11 kV or 66/11 kV or 110/11 kV sub-stations of distribution company, thus saving in transmission system requirement apart from transmission and distribution losses.
Ironically, not much has been done on this front in Bihar so far.
Managing director (MD) of South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited, Sanjiwan Sinha did not respond to calls or text messages.
The areas which received the heavy hailstorm earlier this month is known for its cherry harvest. “I usually sell 30 to 40 boxes every day to the locals but in coming days, when all varieties will be available in market, my sales will further pick up along with good rates,” he added. Growers say though bulk of stone fruits is dispatched outside the UT, local sales too have a good potential to compensate losses.
National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah on Friday said that the Modi government has failed to restore peace in Kashmir and the increased tourist footfall and multiple flights to the Valley cannot be called signs of normalcy. Addressing mediapersons at the party headquarters here, he said, “No one is feeling secure amid targeted killings. The state of fear is such that Pandit employees are ready to quit their jobs and run away from Kashmir.”
An undertrial lodged in Dharamshala district jail on armed robbery charges fled from Kangra police custody while he along with other prisoners being transported back to the prison after being produced in a court in Pathankot of Punjab. The incident took place on Thursday. Kangra SP Khushal Chand Sharma said a departmental action has been initiated against the cops who were accompanying a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, Prince Kapoor.
Within three months of her marriage, a 24-year-old woman hanged herself at her parents' home in Palam Vihar extension on Thursday evening alleging that her husband and her in-laws harassed her for dowry, said the police on Friday. The incident came to the fore when the woman's younger sister returned from college and found her hanging from the ceiling fan of a room on the first floor.
Security forces thwarted an infiltration attempt in north Kashmir's Tangdhar sector on Friday morning by killing an unidentified infiltrator. Last week, three militants were killed in north Kashmir's Bandipore forests. Police had said that the militants including a local, who had recently sneaked back into Valley. Compared to previous years, there have been lesser incidents of reported infiltration attempts made in north Kashmir this year despite less snowfall during winters on the traditional infiltration routes.