‘Allow construction activities in power projects’: Centre to states
The power sector has been reeling under stress since the lockdown with a dip of 30% in demand due to the absence of commercial activity in the wake of lockdown.Updated: Apr 23, 2020 18:32 IST
The Centre has written to states advising them to allow construction activities in power projects outside municipal limits during the lockdown. The advisory comes following ministry of home affairs’ guidelines on exempted activities under the extended lockdown till May 3.
The power sector has been reeling under stress since the lockdown with a dip of 30% in demand due to the absence of commercial activity in the wake of lockdown.
The Centre has also directed Coal India Limited (CIL) to produce 710 million tonnes (MT) of coal as the company’s coal offtake target will also remain at 710 MT for this fiscal.
Union Minister for coal Pralhad Joshi held a meeting to set the performance targets for the state-run company keeping in mind the roadmap for a post-lockdown scenario, officials said.
“The demand for coal will pick up again after the coronavirus lockdown, so I have directed CIL to keep the production and offtake targets at 710 MT for financial year 2020-21 in line with its goal to achieve 1 billion tonne coal production by year 2023-24.” Pralhad Joshi said on Thursday.
Railways freight loading for coal, one of its prime commodities has dipped since the lockdown. Its earnings for coal and coke dipped by 48.25% to 1,880.61 crore since the lockdown.
In the letter written to the states, union territories, District Magistrates and police authorities, the power ministry said, “As per MHA’s guidelines construction of all kinds of industrial projects in rural areas, i.e., outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities have been allowed to be carried out with effect from April 20. This is also applicable for ongoing construction activities in Thermal/Hydro Power Generation Projects outside the limits of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).”
On April 15, the home ministry had allowed continuation of works in construction projects within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought from outside from April 20 onward.
“However these additional activities will be operationalised by states/union territories/district administrations based on strict compliance to the existing guidelines on lockdown measures,” the guidelines had said.
Movement of all personnel travelling to place of work and back in the exempted categories as per the instructions of the state/union territory was also allowed.
The power ministry has also requested to allow the intrastate and interstate movement of construction materials, equipment, spares and consumables etc., for these under construction power projects.
“It has been emphasised that resumption of project works at sites may be carried out while taking all mandatory precautions and norms of social distancing as well the advisories issued by Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health and Family welfare from time to time with regard to Covid-19,” the ministry said in a statement Thursday.
The home ministry had in a fresh set of guidelines added exemptions including activities in farming/plantation, construction and banking sectors. Construction activities in rural areas, water supply, sanitation, and laying of power, telecom lines were also exempted from the lockdown.