GUWAHATI, April 29: Even as the State continues to reel under an acute power crisis, State Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi and the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) are still pinning their hopes on the rain gods for the situation to improve. Although almost ten years has passed since power reforms work started in the State there has been no improvement in the power generation scenario, with the power department continuing to depend upon rainfall to generate electricity.
The State Power Minister today held a review meeting in Dispur to take stock of the power situation in the State. But while interacting with mediapersons after the meeting, he seemed helpless to do anything to solve the power crisis and it seemed that the power department has their entire hopes pinned on the rains to come.
Bordoloi said, “Almost 60 percent of the State’s power is generated from hydel power projects. But at the moment we are being able to generate only 10 per cent of power from these hydel projects. Because of lack of rainfall, these projects are being totally shut down in the daytime and they are operated only for a short while in the evenings. We have been facing the same problem for the last five years.”
The power department is presently depending entirely on the State’s thermal power plants to generate electricity, the Minister said. He said, “We now have to depend on the thermal power plants to generate electricity but the amount generated from these plants is not sufficient to meet our requirements. At present, we are getting 600 MW of power daily from Lakowa, Namrup and Kathalguri thermal power plants and Palatana Power Plant of Tripura.”
Bordoloi said that he has requested the gas companies to ensure continuous supply of gas to these stations in order to prevent the situation from worsening. “Since these thermal power plants run on gas, we have asked gas companies like Oil India, GAIL, ONGC, Assam Gas Company, etc to ensure proper supply of gas to these stations or else the situation will turn more bad.”
The Power Minister informed that the State is presently buying 390 MW of power daily from other States to meet its requirements. At present, the State requires 1350 MW of power during the peak hours but there is currently a shortfall of 200 MW of power on an average, he said.
Referring to the Subansiri hydel power project, Bordoloi said that the government wanted the project to be completed as the State would receive 600 MW of power daily from it. “This is a very important project for Assam as the plant will be generating a lot of power. However, we want the project to be done in a scientific manner so that the fears and apprehensions of the people regarding the project are removed,” he said.
Referring to the Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station (BTPS) project in Bongaigaon, the Minister said that the first unit was supposed to have been commissioned by now. “Due to various reasons, operations could not be started in BTPS although its first unit was supposed to have been commissioned by now. We are now hoping to commission it around this time next year,” he said, adding that the first unit would generate 250 MW of power daily once it starts its operations.
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