5 July 2018:
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Union Power Minister R K Singh on Wednesday asked all states to use allocated funds under various schemes, including Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), to achieve the electrification target for all households by year end.
Addressing a conference of power and renewable energy ministers of states and UTs, Singh said “We are giving funds. But those allocated funds are not being used. We are not able to use money. If we don’t use that (funds), we would not be able to reach any home (or electrify them).”
He underlined Rs 42,000 crore was sanctioned under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), but just Rs 9,000 crore has been spent by states and UTs. Moreover, under Integrated (IPDS), a total of Rs 75,000 crore was sanctioned. About the household electrification scheme Saubhagya, he said: “We have larger target ahead of us. How can we remove poverty without providing energy access to all? We will provide electricity to all households by December 31, 2018 and not by March 31, 2019 as envisaged earlier in the scheme.”
Regarding coal, Singh said the dry fuel will continue to be an issue for 2-3 years until the new mines open up because country’s power demand and electricity reach is increasing which indicates good GDP or economic growth. The minister also cited increase in per capita consumption with rising prosperity as one of reasons for rising power demand and coal shortage.
He said the Centre has asked all states to import coal for meeting their demands and also take steps to augment supply to power plants by improving transport infrastructure like rail sidings. The minister also talked about liberalizing power supplies by generation firms. He said “Power generation companies should be allowed to supply power from more efficient plants as tariff is low there. This will not require any change in the power purchase agreements. This will help bring down the cost of power.”
On the unscheduled load shedding or power cuts, he said:”If there is load shedding we would impose penalty (from April 1, 2019). All of us have agreed on this earlier. Besides, if we don’t plug in losses, reduce cross subsidy and transfer subsidy by direct benefit transfer, we cannot improve the financial health of discoms.”
“Crores of people are deprived of electricity in the country. No country can be developed if there is load shedding and people live without electricity. It is a challenge,” he added. Under Saubhagya scheme, the government wants to energise over 40 million unelectrified households in the country. The Rs 16,320 crore schemes were launched in September last by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At present, over 7 million families have been provided electricity under the scheme. (Agency)
Attending the conference, Arunachal Pradesh Power Minister Tamiyo Taga briefed about the schemes taken up by the State Govt and stated that Arunachal is gearing up to launch Saubhagya scheme by which 100 percent household will get electrified by December 2018. He further informed that under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana 498 villages have been covered and 6863 households electrified. Moreover, 5, 58,605 LED bulbs had been distributed under UJALA Yojana. Taga was accompanied by Commissioner Power BS Kumar and BJP’s ST Morcha president Hinium Tachu.