Seeking to allay fears that the longer power cuts to come into force from Monday would affect students preparing for public examinations, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has promised uninterrupted electricity supply to government schools.

If it is not possible to avoid power outages for schools, the government will arrange for generator sets.

“Steps will be initiated to ensure power supply to government high and higher secondary schools, as no hardship should be caused to students preparing for their 10th and 12th standard exams. In case it is not possible, the government itself will get generators on rent for these institutions. The expenditure on diesel for these generators will also be met by the government,” the Chief Minister said in a statement here on Sunday.

Similarly, the government would foot the bill of government-aided high and higher secondary schools if they had to rent generators, she added.

Ms. Jayalalithaa contended that Tamil Nadu was facing serious power shortage because of the failure of the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government to augment power generation.

She said that during the past five years of the DMK rule, facilities were created for additional generation of only 208 MW. “The DMK government had failed to utilise the power generation projects launched during my previous tenure (2001-06) also,” she added.

According to her, the State is unable to get adequate quantum of power because even ongoing projects had not been completed in time during the DMK regime. She alleged that the DMK government had made it a habit to purchase power from outside.

Hence, as there had been no long-term power procurement initiative, the State was unable to get required quantum of power.

In addition, as there had been technical problems with the transmission corridor, it was difficult to get electricity from other States too.

“For example, though there is an agreement in force to get 500 MW from Gujarat, it is possible to receive only 235 MW from Gujarat because of the transmission problems. Hence, there is a vast gap between demand and supply.”

The Chief Minister said she conducted an exhaustive review of the power situation with the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) chairman and other officials on February 17 and 23. The current power demand of the State was 11,500-12,500 MW but the total availability of power from the generating units in Tamil Nadu and from the Central pool put together was only 8,500 MW. That was why it was announced that the power cut, over and above what had been earlier announced, was unavoidable. “I have instructed the officials that there should be no unannounced power cut.”

Accepting the views expressed by the industries and the consumers and in a bid to manage the situation, the TANGEDCO has announced a new regulated distribution system, she explained.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Teachers' Association has thanked the Chief Minister for her announcement on footing the bill for renting generators and also for the diesel required.

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