Bihar yet to get aid for power sector: Khan

TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2004 03:01:42 AM ]

PATNA: Bihar is yet to get the financial package of Rs 16,825 crore for its power sector. The Planning Commission has recommended a package of Rs 4,420 crore as against the proposal of Rs 16,825 crore for a period of 10 years. Bihar, a state chronically short of electricity, is, however, yet to get even this "meagre amount", said energy minister Shakeel Ahmad Khan while reviewing the progress of Bihar Hydro-electric Power Corporation (BHPC) here recently.

He told TNN that the Union power ministry has been apprised from time to time of the efforts made by Bihar to bring about improvement in its power sector anticipating that these would be supported by the Centre with appropriate financial assistance. In order to augment its generation capacity, Bihar needs to have Rs 640 crore for renovation and modernisation of the Barauni and Muzaffarpur thermal power stations and Rs 2,250 crore for extension of the Muzaffarpur thermal power station, he added. Referring to hydro-electric power projects, Khan said various projects, including those at Telharkund, Hathaidah-Durgwati, Panchgotia, Sinafdar and Indrapuri, are still waiting to be finally decided by the Centre.

He has recently written a letter to Union power minister Anant G Geete, urging him again to accord priority to these projects in order to augment the generation capacity in the state. Khan said after the bifurcation of Bihar, the Centre had constituted the Srivastava Committee for distribution of the assets and liabilities of the Bihar State Electricity Board. "But the Centre has initiated the process of distribution of assets in utter violation of the committee recommendations," he maintained.

He said the Centre has been putting pressure on the Bihar government to hand over the Muzaffarpur thermal power station to the National Thermal Power Corporation on a long-term lease and purchase power from it at the rate of Rs 4 per unit. The much awaited two major hydro-electric power projects in Kaimur and at Indrapuri are yet to get final clearance from the Union power ministry. The National Hydro-electric Power Corporation has already submitted these two projects to the Centre for clearance. Bihar energy secretary K C Mishra has sent several reminders to the Centre but till date no follow-up action has been taken. Nabard has sanctioned a loan of Rs 60 crore to the BHPC for 17 hydro-electric power projects in the state regarding which work is in progress at five places, Khan said.