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`TD bid to scuttle free power plan'

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Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy has said that the Telugu Desam Party is "conspiring to somehow scuttle free power supply" to agriculture by projecting the scheme as a failure and trying to send a wrong signal to farmers.

In contrast to the TDP's campaign, the scheme was being implemented successfully by supplying power to agricultural pump sets for seven hours daily.

"Opposition parties will be happy only if the scheme fails," he remarked at a video conference with district officials on Saturday to review the power supply position.

Dr. Reddy asked the district Collectors, Superintending Engineers (SE) of distribution companies and Joint Directors (JD) of Agriculture to educate the farmers on the "sinister designs" of the Opposition and ask them no to panic.

"We have capacity to overcome this problem of shortage."

As the supply position in the State remained critical with a shortage of over 15 million units a day even after imposing scheduled load-shedding on distribution companies, the Chief Minister asked the SEs to monitor the situation daily and bring the problems, if any, to the notice of the Collectors concerned.

SEs were instructed to trace out the technical snags, if any, affecting supply to the pump sets by interacting every morning with the JDs before contacting the Collector. Collectors, in turn, would bring the problems to his notice if his intervention was required.

Collectors, SEs and JDs were asked to make the position clear to farmers and political leaders at feeder-level meetings every Sunday at 9 a.m. The meeting was attended by as many as 13 Ministers, apart from top-brass of the power sector, including AP Transco and AP Genco CMDs-- Rachel Chatterjee and Ajay Jain respectively-- indicating gravity of the situation.

The Chief Minister asked officials to impose cut on industries too to ensure seven-hour supply to pump sets to "save the crops till the last acre". He said a small relief might be possible shortly as the Government was contemplating to use naptha to run at least some gas-based units. A sum of Rs. 6,000 crores was being obtained from Japan to implement the High Voltage Distribution System programme to reduce transmission/distribution losses, he added.

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