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Nitish govt promises power for all,no tariff hike

The state government has decided not to increase power tariff from April.

The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar,Thursday,announced it would ensure 24-hour electricity supply to all 38 district headquarters by February,and 101 sub-divisions by year-end. This,despite suffering a monthly transmission and distribution loss of over Rs 100 crore. Given that it is an election year,the state government has also decided not to increase power tariff from April. The Bihar government charges Rs 4 per unit.

Bihar Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said that as the state had only 11 per cent urban population,the government’s priority was “not to increase power tariff” but to provide power to every household by 2016,with an estimated power availability of 6,000 MW. “At present,power availability is 2,300 MW as compared to 1,200 MW in December,2012. Our target for June,2014 is 3,000 MW,and 4,000 MW by December,” Yadav said.

The minister said he stood by Nitish’s statement made on August 15,2012,that he would not seek votes from people during the 2015 Assembly polls if the power situation does not improve by then. “There is no question of backing off from that promise. The situation of seeking apology from public will not arise,” Yadav said.

Bihar has a composite Rs 25,000 crore earmarked for the electricity sector,including special grants under the Backward Region Grant Fund,Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Plan and Asian Development Bank-backed schemes.

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Energy Secretary Sandip Poundrik,meanwhile,said the state would introduce pre-use electricity meters for those with transferable jobs. “We have put in place voluntary load disclosure systems to avoid raids. The number of FIRs for power theft has also gone up from about 150 to 2,000 every month. About 97 per cent consumers have electricity meters now,” said Poundrik. He conceded that a 42 per cent operating loss (over Rs 100 crore per month) was a matter of concern but as the state was “committed to increasing power supply”,it had to buy electricity worth Rs 500 crore every month.

He added most government departments were now being made to pay power bills.

First published on: 03-01-2014 at 12:12:01 am
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