Karnataka team in Delhi to ask for power

October 12th, 2011 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore/New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) A team from Karnataka, headed by Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje, arrived in New Delhi Wednesday to plead with the central government for more power as severe shortages have forced long hours of outages and staggered holidays for industries.

All small, medium and large-scale industries in the state, which generally observe Sunday as the weekly holiday, will go for staggered weekly holidays from Thursday in the face of the state reeling under 1,000 MW power shortage daily.

“The details will be worked between industry associations and Escoms (electricity supply companies) and the schedule will come into effect from Thursday,” Karandlaje said in Bangalore before heading for New Delhi.

She will meet union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi either late Wednesday or Thursday to seek urgent central help.

Karandlaje told reporters that she would ask Shinde to immediately provide 500 MW from central grid to the state.

From Jaiswal, she will seek coal supply from Maharashtra or any other state, and from Trivedi rakes to ensure they reach Karnataka.

The Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state has already announced massive power cuts of up to eight hours a day in rural areas from Tuesday.

Though Bangalore has been spared, almost all areas in the city have been hit by unscheduled power cuts for up to three hours a day.

All other major towns in the state will have no power for one hour between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Karnataka, with a population of around 60 million and about 300,000 industrial units of small, medium and large scale, needs around 7,000 MW of power daily.

However, the state has to make do with around 6,000 MW as agitation for separate Telengana in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh has disrupted coal supplies to its two thermal power plants.

Supply from the central grid has also been hit. Like Karnataka, power generation and supply in many other states also has been affected by the Telangana stir.

The staggered holidays for industries are being introduced in the state after a gap of ten years, according to Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (Kassia) president Prakash Raikar.

J.R. Bangera, president of the Federation of the Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), said the association has agreed for staggered holidays on the promise that Escoms will ensure uninterrupted supply on other days.

Karnataka, a perennial power-deficit state, depends heavily on hydropower as it has no coal reserves. Around 65 percent of its power needs is met by hydropower. The state has two thermal plants, one in Raichur with eight units and another in Bellary with one unit, both in north Karnataka.

Together they have installed capacity of 2,220 MW but are generating around 1,200 MW only as coal supply has been hit.

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