Northeastern states join hands on power front

August 10th, 2008 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Agartala, Aug 10 (IANS) India’s eight northeastern states are working jointly to make the region’s power system economic, efficient and reliable, Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey said here Sunday. “The power ministers of the northeastern states held a meeting at Gugaon Saturday and finalised strategies to commission the under-construction power projects and transmission lines (by 2012),” Dey said.

Besides the power ministers, senior officials of companies like Power Grid Corp of India Ltd (PGCIL), Central Electricity Authority of India, National Hydroelectric Power Corp (NHPC) and North Eastern Electric Power Corp (Neepco) as well as officials from state governments and central power agencies attended the meeting.

Dey said the power ministers had asked the central electrical authorities to strengthen the transmission system of upcoming power projects - Palatana (740 MW) and Monarchak (104 MW) in Tripura, Subansiri Lower (2,000 MW) and Kameng (600 MW) in Arunachal Pradesh, and Bongaigaon (750 MW) in Assam with the central funding of 90:10 (grant:loan) pattern.

According to him, the meeting discussed a wide range of issues including inter-state transmission line, intra-state transmission and patterns of financing to develop small hydro electric projects.

“It was demanded in the meeting that the same yardstick applied to other developed states were not feasible for the backward and land-locked northeast region,” Dey added.

The northeast power ministers also decided to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to update him of the grim power situation in the region and to seek more funds for new projects and upgrading the existing power projects.

The power ministers also demanded that priority be given to the northeastern states for the allocation of power generated from the region, he said.

They also wanted that surplus power could be allocated to other parts of the country and the cost of transmission corridor would be shared by the beneficiaries.

The northeastern region, known as ‘power house of India’, has a huge hydropower potential of about 60,000 MW.

According to an official report of Neepco, the central government plans to pump in Rs.280 billion to add 5,615 MW of power during the 11th Five-Year Plan. This includes 4,055 MW of hydro electric and 1,560 MW of thermal power.

“In addition, the region also has abundant resource of coal, oil and gas for thermal power generation. In spite of such huge potential, the region ranks lowest in the country in terms of per capita energy consumption. This has been mainly due to inhospitable climatic conditions, remote position and inaccessibility of geographical locations,” the report added.

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