Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The Government unveiled a grandiose plan to add an installed capacity of 8,753 MW to the State grid five years investing Rs. 35,010 crore. This will take the State's total capacity to an all-time high of 20,370 MW from the present 11,617 MW.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Tuesday on the occasion of the Rajasekhara Reddy Government completing a three-year term shortly, Energy Minister Mohd. Ali Sabbir said free power supply to the farm sector would be continued. Also, tariff would not be hiked for any category of consumers. He said power cuts would be minimised and efforts made to ensue round-the-block supply to rural areas.

A sum of Rs. 2,000 crore had been set aside additionally to purchase power from outside sources this year to meet the shortage, if any, during kharif-rabi. Mr. Shabbir Ali said the power sector which incurred losses earlier, made a turnabout with the Genco reporting a profit of Rs. 145 crore and the AP Transco and the distribution companies together Rs. 57 crore all for the first time.

In contrast to the previous policy, only Genco would be encouraged to set up power plants in place of private parties with whom "faulty" power purchase agreements were signed at the cost of consumer, he added.