Vajpayee promises more reforms in power sector

The Hindu, Tuesday, Feb 10, 2004
By Alok Mukherjee

NEW DELHI, FEB. 9. The Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, today promised more reforms in the power sector and said this crucial infrastructure would see the same changes witnessed in the telecom and roads sectors. This was necessary since a good infrastructure was a must for speedier economic development and the shortage of power had hampered growth in the past. He said that if his party was voted to power, it would work for achieving the goal of "Electricity for all by 2012." The Prime Minister was speaking at a function here to dedicate to the nation three major power projects, already under commercial operation for at least six months. Through a video-conferencing facility, he unveiled plaques at the project sites in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal and Meghalaya. The projects dedicated include the Rs. 3,650-crore Simhadri power generation plant of the National Thermal Power Corporation, the Rs. 1,684-crore Chamera Hydro project of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation and the Rs. 263-crore transmission project of the Powergrid Corporation in the northeast.

Dig at Congress

Mr. Vajpayee said the power sector had been in such a bad state that even the achievements of the last five years, including the passage of Electricity Act, could not be highlighted. Without naming the Congress, he said: "who is responsible for such a situation... people want to know the answer," and cited the example of Madhya Pradesh, saying that there was a high incidence of students failing in exams in the State as there was no electricity at night. Mr. Vajpayee said just as there were no roads connecting villages and cities, there was no electricity even after 50 years of independence. However, his Government had taken a number of measures and results were there to see. The steps taken in the recent interim budget and the new Electricity Act would attract private and foreign investment.