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Jharkhand to spend Rs.1,600 crore to lay power lines

Ranchi, Feb 26 - Jharkhand will spend Rs.1,600 crore for laying transmission lines to transport power that would be produced in the state in the next three years. The state government has appointed PowerGrid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) as a consultant for the project.

Key private power companies such as Reliance Power, Abhijit group, Adhunik group and the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) are expected to produce around 7,000 MW in next three to four years. Reliance Power, which is setting up an ultra mega power project (UMPP) at Tilaiya in Koderma district, will produce 4,000 MW in the next 5-6 years.

If transmission lines are not there, officials said, the state would not be able to use the electricity from the independent power plants.

"Jharkhand is suffering on two fronts due to lack of adequate transmission lines, mainly of 400, 220 and 132 KV. First, we are unable to supply adequate power to at least 12 districts and, second, we are unable to evacuate power from the newly set-up thermal power plants" Vimal Kriti Singh, energy secretary, told IANS.

According to Singh, Jharkhand will get 2,550 MW as its share from the power plants in the next three to four years. If the transmission lines are not built, it will have to pay Rs.325 crore every year to others to use this power.

In the last 11 years, Jharkhand has done little to increase power production or improve the transmission lines in the state. When it was carved out from Bihar in 2000, Jharkhand was producing nearly 450 MW power and its requirement was only 400 MW.

The irony was that despite being a power-surplus state, Jharkhand was not able to provide electricity to its people.

"At the time of creation of the state, Jharkhand could not use power for domestic users as the transmission lines were linked either to Bihar or West Bengal," said an official of the Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB).

The requirement of power in Jharkhand is estimated to go up to more than 2,000 MW after the rural electrification works are completed in the next three years. At present, the state's power requirement is more than 1,400 MW, but it produces only

250-350 MW. Jharkhand purchases around 300-400 MW from the Centre.

"We have to learn from the past and draw a strategy for the next 20 to 25 years to provide power to promote both industries and agriculture in the state," Chief Minister Arjun Munda, who holds the power portfolio, told IANS.

Official sources said Munda went ahead to appoint PGCIL as a consultant despite opposition within his government and clinched the lowest ever deal with PGCIL, which will charge an 11 per cent consultation fee. PGCIL charges a minimum of 12 percent of the total project as consultancy fee.

The Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) and PGCIL will soon sign an agreement for the project, they said.

(Nityanand Shukla can be contacted at nityanand.s@ians.in)


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