Government committed to bring a transformative change in power sector to ensure electricity for all – Piyush Goyal
Union Minister for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Mr. Piyush Goyal today asserted that the government is committed to bring a transformative change in the power sector and its aim is to provide electricity to the last man standing, to brighten up his life.
Presenting a 100 Day report card of his Ministry, at a National Tele-Press Conference organized by PIB, Mr. Goyal said, the work has already begun and comprehensive state specific action plans for 24/7 power to all homes is being prepared, in partnership with respective states.
He said fruitful discussions have been held with 18 state governments and other major stake holders like railways, concerned ministries, financial institutions, T&D companies etc., to identify bottlenecks and work out solutions.
No request for additional power from Maharashtra
Mr. Piyush Goyal said, despite his repeated attempts to reach out, he was not successful to set up a meeting with the Maharashtra Government and denied that Centre has refused to give additional power to the state. “As of today, there is no pending request for additional power from Maharashtra, and the issue need not be politicized” he added.
Coal production to be stepped up
Explaining the issue of coal shortages as reported in a section of media, Mr. Goyal said the hydro-electric production had been lower following weak monsoon. But the coal based thermal sector pro-actively accelerated power production to compensate for the below par power generation from the hydel sector.. “When the production has been stepped up, naturally the coal stock would decrease” he added.
The Minister said, there is no low coal supply as such, but mentioned that he inherited a grim power scenario, resulting from some flawed decisions. “But a turn around plan has been initiated and already, coal based electricity generation from June to August 2014 grew by a record 21% compared to corresponding period last year. Even coal production has grown by 9% in August 2014 as compared to August 2013,” he added.
Mr. Goyal said the Government endeavours to ensure adequate coal for power plants by targeting production of 1 billion tons by 2019. He said coal linkages are being rationalized in order to link power plants with the nearest mines. A beginning has already been made with the completion of Gujarat and Chhattisgarh swaps.
Moreover, automatic transfer of linkages is being allowed from old & inefficient plants to ultra-modern super-critical plants in order to maximize power generation from the same amount of coal.
The Minister also said that Coal India is acquiring 250 additional rakes to facilitate evacuation of greater quantities of coal. He said the government is proposing to bring in a statutory and robust coal regulator to replace the present Coal Regulatory Authority. While not ruling out any of the options, the Minister stated that there are no plans to open up the coal sector to private players right away.
Focus on renewable energy
Terming solar power and wind power as futuristic sources of energy, Mr. Goyal said government has doubled the Clean Energy Cess to generate more resources for financing renewable energy projects. He said the restoration of accelerated depreciation scheme will benefit wind energy generation, while amicable resolution of anti-dumping duty issue would give impetus to the solar sector.
Improving Transmission & Distribution
The Minister said a greater focus is being laid on improving the transmission and distribution network in the country. He termed the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Jyoti Gram Yojana with expected investment of about Rs. 43,000 crores for feeder segregation for agriculture and domestic usage in rural India and Integrated Power Development Scheme with expected investment of about Rs. 32,600 crores for strengthening of sub-transmission & distribution infrastructure as major steps towards ensuring 24 x 7 power supply.
About the National Tele-Press Conference
In a first of its kind initiative by PIB, Union Minister Mr. Piyush Goyal addressed the National Tele-Press Conference from New Delhi’s National Media Centre, with NIC video link up with Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Jaipur, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Jammu, Kolkata, Patna, Ranchi, and Guwahati. Journalists, representing a wide variety of regional press got an opportunity to question the minister on government’s plans and policies.