Assam harried by power woes, CM defends state board

May 11th, 2012 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, May 11 (IANS) As Assam has been facing electricity outages of over 16 hours a day, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Friday came to the rescue of the state power department that has been drawing flak for erratic power supply across the state.

Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi and the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) have been drawing strong criticism due to frequent power outages in the state for over a week. In certain parts of the state, power cuts have gone up to more than 16 hours a day.

Addressing a press conference here, Gogoi said, “It is not due to the negligence of the board that the state has been facing power shortage. The disruption is due to collapse of power transmission towers near Jalpaiguri in the Assam-West Bengal border area caused by inclement weather.”

Gogoi also assured the people that the situation is likely to improve by Saturday evening. “We were informed by the authorities in West Bengal that the towers have been repaired. So, we hope the situation will improve by 50 percent by tomorrow evening,” the chief minister said.

“At present, we are facing shortage of 450 MW of power in peak hours and about 260 MW during off peak hours. This has led to the existing situation. A deficit in rainfall this year has also compounded the problem as the state’s own hydro power projects have failed to produce as per their capacities,” he said.

Gogoi added the government has been trying to start thermal-based power projects, which would help improve the state’s power scenario.

“We hope the thermal power project at Bongaigaon will be operational by December 2013. We will get 600 MW of additional power from the project. We are also trying to get coal linkages for the thermal power plant at Margherita in the upper Assam, which will give us about 100 MW of power,” he said.

The chief minister added that steps have been initiated to secure supply of gas to the gas-based power project at Aamguri, which is likely to generate another 100 MW.

“We are likely to get 240 MW of power from the Palatana power project in Tripura, which will be operational by July this year,” Gogoi said.

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