Powering growth

Print edition : June 02, 2006

As much as Rs.503 crores has been set aside in the 2006-07 budget to augment the State's power generation capacity. -

MADHYA PRADESH will achieve self-sufficiency in power by 2007," said Madhya Pradesh Minister for Commerce and Industry Shri Kailash Chawla at the M.P. Day celebrations at the India International Trade Fair 2005 (IITF) at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. For a State starved of power, where long hours of power-cut contributed to a silent revolution that dethroned the Digvijay Singh-led Congress government, this would have sounded like a boast. But looking at the strides made in the power sector in the short span of over two years, the Minister's claim seems to have acquired some legitimacy.

The State has already augmented power generation by 1,364 MW and the ongoing projects, expected to be completed in the next three years, will add another 2,300 MW. The current gap between demand and supply at peak hours is 1,500 MW. Realising the fact that the demand for power will only increase in the coming years, the State government is exploring alternative sources of energy as well. Besides mini power projects, wind power, solar energy and nuclear energy are being tapped. The government has set up a committee of experts to explore and exploit the potential of wind power. The committee would advise the government on investment in the wind power sector and matters relating to power generation. The government is drawing up a specific policy to institutionalise its non-conventional energy sector.

As much as Rs.503 crores have been set aside in the 2006-07 Budget to augment the State's power generation capacity. While Rs.344.20 crores have been allotted to strengthen the transmission network, Rs.260 crores have been set aside for improving and strengthening the distribution network.

The State government has also sought the help of private producers, including multinational companies, to improve the power situation. A major achievement in this regard is the 2000 MW Sidhi thermal power plant which will be set up by ISN, a United States-based multinational company, at a cost of Rs.10,000 crores. The power plant would become operative in three years.

The government has offered full support and cooperation to ISN for the speedy implementation of the project. The plant is expected to initially generate 2,000 MW, which would later be increased to 4,000 MW. The coal for the thermal power plant would come from the Moher coal mine. Water supply would be ensured from the Rihand dam.

Purnima S. Tripathi

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