In an effort to boost the state’s power sector, Bihar cabinet on Saturday approved 16 schemes aimed at ensuring electricity supply in rural areas, renovation and expansion of thermal power stations and better control of power grids.
Many of these schemes are sponsored by the centre with the state sharing the cost of its implementation, Cabinet Coordination Department Principal Secretary Shishir Kumar Sinha told reporters.
The approved schemes include Rs 1,699 crore project of Bihar Grid Company Limited (BGCL), a joint venture of Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited (BSPHCL) and Power Grid Corporation to expand and strengthen electricity transmission in the state.
“In this particular project, 80 per cent of Rs 1,699 crore will come as market loan while half of the rest 20 per cent (around Rs 340 crore) will be shared by BSPHCL,” Sinha said.
BSPHCL’s share in the project will be about Rs 170 crore and the state cabinet has also approved the allotment of first installment of Rs 57.50 crore.
The three-hour long meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the cabinet accorded administrative approval for over Rs 333 crore projects of North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited and South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited to replace faulty and burnt transformers with high capacity ones in rural areas under Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme.
The cabinet also approved a project of Rs 71.35 crore for protection and upgradation of control systems of six grid sub-centres of Bihar State Power Transmission Company Limited (BSPTCL) in the state, Sinha said.
This particular project will be financed by central government’s Power System Development Fund (PSDF) and 90 per cent of the project will be provided directly through nodal agency to BSPTCL, he added Sinha said the cabinet meeting decided to make available Rs 300 crore to NBPDCL, SBPDCL and BSPTCL during the current financial year to meet their expenditure requirements in case the Centre did not release the Rs 9,503 crore approved for various projects under Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) special plan during 2013-14.
Similar lines of 133 KV will be laid between Karbigahiya and Gaurichak on the outskirts of Patna at a cost of Rs 42 crore, he said.
The cabinet approved construction of a new grid with power transmission and downlink lines at Bihta in Patna district at a cost of Rs 135 crore. The state will spend Rs 226 crore on boosting up and strengthening electricity transmission systems in and around the state capital.
The cabinet also gave its nod to projects worth Rs 3,394 crore for NBPDCL and Rs 2,433 crore for SBPDCL for establishing separate agriculture electricity feeders, distribution, strengthening of transmission, expansion and metering under Din Dayal Upadhaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).
Centre will provide 60 per cent cost of the DDUGJY projects approved by the state government today as grant through Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), the nodal agency. The state share will be 10 per cent, while the rest 30 per cent will be loans from financial institutions.
The cabinet also decided to provide Rs 81 crore to two 110 MW units of Barauni thermal power station for pre-commissioning expenses after renovation and modernisation.
The money will be provided to Bihar State Power Generation Company Limited (BSPGCL), Sinha said.
The revised cost of Rs 5,308 crore against earlier Rs 3,707 crore for construction of two units of 250 MW each at Barauni thermal power station was also approved by the cabinet.
Two solar energy pilot projects, which are being sponsored by World Bank on a PPP mode were also approved. These will cost over Rs 39 crore.
Electricity in the state is not only a developmental issue in Bihar. It has also become a political issue with the ruling JD(U) claiming that its condition has improved vastly in the state and opposition BJP alleging that the power situation, specially in rural areas, was very poor.
Kumar had said in 2012 that he will not seek votes in the coming election if power situation did not improve in the state.