Minister hold meeting to review tardy progress of work

Union Minister of State for Power K.C. Venugopal has said that officials have been given instructions to complete the works under the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyuthikaran Yojana (RGGVY) in six northern districts of the State by March 31, attributing the delay in their implementation to ‘irresponsible attitude' of contractors.

Briefing reporters after a meeting held here on Sunday to review the tardy progress of the scheme, the Minister said that two monitoring systems would be put in place for accelerating the implementation of the projects under the RGGVY.

While officials of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which is the implementing agency, would monitor the progress every two weeks, there were plans to set up a monitoring mechanism headed by local MPs. A meeting of the MPs to review the progress of the works would be held this month itself, he added.

After implementing the scheme in Idukki, it was extended to six northern districts in 2010. The scheme aimed at providing free electricity connection to below poverty line (BPL) households was then extended to the remaining seven southern districts.

Mr. Venugopal said the State government had raised concern about the delay in implementing the works in the six northern districts in the first phase.

Of the total Rs.115 crore sanctioned for the works in the six districts, only Rs.20 crore had been spent, he said.

Though 592 villages in these districts had been targeted, works were completed only in 14 villages. Funds were sanctioned by the Rural Electrification Corporation under the Ministry of Power, he said.

Disclosing that Malappuram had fared worst in the implementation of the works under the scheme, he said the KSEB officials were directed to take a final decision, including cancellation of contracts.

Another review meeting would be held by April 15, he said. The Minister said that the officials were asked to identify new contractors to implement the works under the scheme in the seven southern districts.

The Minister said that a total Rs.224 crore was sanctioned for the scheme in the State as 98 per cent of the project cost would be shouldered by the Central government. As many as 74,740 BPL families in 1,273 villages in the State would be beneficiaries of the scheme, he said.

Mr. Venugopal said the scheme under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RAPDRP) aimed at reducing transmission loss and rectifying defects in the electricity distribution system in urban areas would be implemented on a war footing. He said the Central government had set apart Rs.1,170 crore for implementing the scheme.

An amount of Rs.214 crore had already been sanctioned for executing the first part of the programme which included works such as adoption of Information Technology-enabled facilities in 43 towns in the State.

The second part included works such as underground cable laying, he said.

He said that 83.15 crore had been sanctioned for improving power supply in selected towns under the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) programme using Information Technology. Criterion for selecting SCADA eligibility town would be revised so that more towns would be covered under the scheme.

As per the norm, the scheme was implemented in towns having population of over 30,000 and a transmission loss of over 15 per cent.

Proposal for exempting the towns in the State, including tourism and pilgrim centres, from this norm was under the consideration of the Cabinet, he said adding that 28 towns in the six northern districts, 21 of which were in Kannur district, would be included in the list of towns eligible for the SCADA scheme, he said.

To a question, the Minister said the Central government was prepared to help the State tide over the power crisis anticipated as a result of lowering of water level in the Idukki reservoir to accommodate water from the Mullaperiyar reservoir in the event of a failure of the Mullaperiyar dam.