Chandigarh/ June 25-
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today declared that the state would be power surplus by 2013-14, as the ongoing power projects under construction would start generating power to meet the ever increasing power demand in the state.
Replying to an issue raised by the leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar relating to shortage of power in the state during the zero hour of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, the Chief Minister reacted sharply to the wild accusations made by the Congress MLAs on the issue.
Badal said that they should have appreciated the initiatives taken by the SAD-BJP regime for strengthening the power sector, which was crucial for the overall development and economic growth of the state. The Chief Minister reiterated his government’s commitment to supply 8 hour uninterrupted power supply in the agriculture sector for the ensuing paddy season. He said the Congress which was racking up this issue unnecessarily should realize the fact that it did not initiated any tangible step to add a single unit of power worth illuminating a bulb.
The Chief Minister however said that on the contrary their government was fully committed to make Punjab self-sufficient in power sector within next two years and the day is not very far off when the state after meeting its demand would sell the surplus power to the power deficit states across the country.
Badal pointed out that when SAD-BJP government assumed the office in 2007, the total available power capacity was 6219 Mega Watt and concerted efforts were made by SAD-BJP alliance government to add 823 Mega watts till 2012. Consequently the total capacity in 2012 had gone up to 7220 Mega Watt against the total demand of 9500 Mega Watt resulting in the shortfall of 2250 Mega watt.
The Chief Minister said another 3920 Mega watt would be added soon with the completion of Thermal Power projects at Talwandi Sabo (1980 Mega Watt), Goindwal Sahib (540 Mega Watt) and Rajpura (1400 Mega Watt), as the work on these projects was already going on war footing. He categorically said that with the commissioning of these thermal power projects in 2013, in first phase 1860 Mega Watt would be added in 2013 and subsequently in second phase 2060 Mega Watt would be further added in 2014.
Badal said efforts were afoot to tap hydro power potential in the state and with the completion of Shahpur Kandi having capacity of 206 Mega Watt in 2015 and Mukerian Hydel Project with the capacity of 18 Mega Watt, the power scenario in state would further improve. The Chief Minister said that besides enhancing the production of power the state government was taking path breaking initiatives to strengthening the power transmission infrastructure in the state so that the losses of power due to transmission and distribution could be minimized.
Realizing the power shortage in the state, Badal further said that the problem of power shortage has further accentuated due to scanty rainfall and non-melting of snow at the high peaks of mountains. He said that for this none was to be blamed because these factors were within the supreme control of nature. However he said that government was committed to purchase power from other states to meet the demand as it had already made power purchase agreement for buying adequate electricity worth Rs 1645 crore during current year whereas Rs 1038 crore was spent for same purpose during last year. He said that keeping in view the ever increasing demand of power earlier the state had been coping up the situation arising out of the deficit of power by purchasing 10% more than the previous year but for the current financial year it had made elaborate arrangements to purchase additional power tune to 18% over and above the last year.