Power Minister Piyush Goyal promises 24x7 power supply

Last Updated: Friday, August 1, 2014 - 20:56

New Delhi: Attributing power shortages to faulty coal block allocation policies of the UPA government, Power Minister Piyush Goyal today said the Modi government will pursue a three-pronged strategy to enhance generation to ensure 24x7 supply.

"I can assure this House that we are committed to our task of providing 24/7 power to every home and to every industrial and commercial establishment irrespective of the state and irrespective of the government in any state," Goyal during a debate on private member`s resolution in Rajya Sabha.

He said government was working to address power deficit through a three-pronged strategy -- augmenting coal output, addressing transmission and distribution issues and looking at alternative avenues like renewable resources of generating green energy.

"The country is facing the crisis as a result of wrong methods adopted in allocation of coal blocks in an effort to fulfil the dream of power for all till 2012...This is the truth that I have inherited," he said, adding that as a result a large number of coal allocations were embroiled in court cases.

Besides, the CAG has pointed out flaws in coal block allocation and added that the government has accepted the challenges and was "working to solve the issues."

"All power plants coming up till March 31, 2015 should be given adequate stock of coal or an option to import, Goyal said, noting that that it was a commitment made in Budget.

He said to enhance output the government was expediting environment and forest clearances, mining plans, land acquisition and other issues taking support from the state governments and was also looking at rationalisation of linkages which would result in saving to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore.

Goyal emphasised rationalisation of coal linkages and said there were instances where a a power plant located near sea was getting coal from a Chhattisgarh or Jharkhand mine. He said at the same time another plant in Haryana or an interior area would get imported coal transported via train from the sea port, closer to coastal power plants.

He stressed that the government has "also started discussion on mines which are stuck in courts" and appealed to stakeholders to solve the issue through talks or arbitration route instead of seeking recourse to law.

To a point raised by a member he said, "My intention is to increase electricity generation and not further the interest of import lobby. I must draw attention of this House that two and a half years ago, then Prime Minister had set up a committee to find solution to this problem. The committee in fact worked for two years instead of 3 months. They did not find solution and in fact complicated the problem."

He said all these have resulted in plenty of power plants which neither have coal linkage nor Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) or ability to import coal because they do not have PPA and added that government was trying to find out a solution.

Later when Congress leader Digvijay Singh asked as to how banks could have lent to plants which did not have PPA or linkage, Goyal said he would be happy if an investigation is conducted but was not sure if the member who raised the point, would like the findings.
On suggestion that IIFL should provide loan and remove restrictions, he said government has no business in lending decisions of banks.
Goyal said though his government has inherited a legacy which includes several problems but measures to mitigate them ensured that June 2014 proved to be better month for coal output and electricity generation. Coal blocks allocations during the previous regime have been embroiled in irregularities and several cases were pending with the Supreme Court and the nation was forced to suffer its implications.

PTI

First Published: Friday, August 1, 2014 - 20:56
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