Chhattisgarh to stay power-cut-free for 20 yrs: CM
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Last Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 10:05
  
New Delhi: Providing the cheapest energy to consumers, mineral-rich Chhattisgarh will remain a no-power-cut state for the next 20 years, Chief Minister Raman Singh has said.

"There is no power cut (on Tuesday) and there will be no power cut in Chhattisgarh in the next 20 years -- be it industry, agriculture or domestic sector," Singh told PTI in an interview.

The young state, which was created out of Madhya Pradesh eight years ago, would add power generation capacity of 3,000 MW every year for the next two-three years, he said.

"In 2012-13, we are adding 3,000 MW... say around per year 2,000-3,000 MW," Singh said. The state is expected to add over 20,000 MW by 2016. It has the potential to produce up to 50,000 MW.

Per capita power consumption is one of the key indicators of development. This is where Chhatisgarh has shown a marked improvement, the Chief Minister of the BJP-ruled state said.

"Per capita power consumption in 2001 was 600 units. Now, it is 1,560 units, which is better than Delhi and next to Gujarat," he added.

As the state electricity board levies minimal wheeling charges, it can transport and sell power to deficit areas in any part of India, Singh said.

The country's largest power producer NTPC, which has a generation capacity of over 35,000 MW, operates two of its biggest thermal power plants in the state -- Korba (2,600 MW) and Sipat (1,660 MW).

The advantage with the state is that the power producers can source coal right at the pit, as it has rich coal reserves. This is also the main reason for the cost-effectiveness of generation activities in the state.

The current installed power generation capacity of Chhattisgarh is around 2,000 MW.

There are adequate coal supplies in Chhattisgarh as South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, Bilaspur, is doubling its production from 35 million tonnes to 70 million tonnes per annum.

However, one of the major problems holding up key industrial projects in the state relates to delays in the grant of environmental clearances by the Union Environment Ministry.

There are differences between the ministries of coal and power, on one side, and the environment ministry, on the other, over the grant of green clearance for mining in certain resource-bearing areas.

The Chief Minister said there should be clarity whether a particular area can be mined or not.

"The government of India should decide on 'go' and 'no-go' area for mining from the start. It should not be decided at the last moment. Environment, forest and water (related issues) need to be considered together and well before granting permission for setting up businesses," Singh said.

He said there is a lot of interest from investors in the state. "There are several people who want to invest in the state. If they want to do in downstream, they are welcome. But we are not interested in doing MoU’s in steel, aluminium and cement," he said, adding that new projects would be initiated after the existing ones take off.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 10:05


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