Special Correspondent

300 MW of power to be purchased in March at Rs. 23 crores Farmers should install capacitors by March-end: Minister

HYDERABAD: Energy Minister Mohd. Ali Shabbir on Thursday said 300 MW of power would be purchased during March at cost of Rs. 23 crores to meet the ongoing "unprecedented demand."

Making a statement on "Power situation in the State and supply to agriculture sector" in the Assembly, the Minister said the power utilities have tied up for purchasing power for six hours daily during night time from other States with great difficulty, as there was shortage all over the country.

Promise to farmers

He reiterated the Government's commitment to agriculture sector and gave an assurance that standing crops during rabi would be protected by all means. He made it clear that farmers should provide capacitors of adequate rating by March-end.

He clarified that power was being sold to other States whenever there was low demand but that was stopped on February 1 in view the increased demand within the State. He load shedding was resorted on rotation basis for two hours.

Telugu Desam member K. Subbarayudu said free power supply was "meaningless."

Padma Devender Reddy (TRS) demanded nine-hour supply during daytime and review of power purchase agreements. N. Narasimhaiah of the CPI(M) complained that burnt-out transformers were not replaced even after 72 hours. Chada Venkat Reddy (CPI) demanded nine-hour supply in one spell. Akbaruddin Owaisi (MIM) said the Government failed to anticipate the demand. When Kiran Kumar Reddy (Congress) said the Government was giving Rs. 1,238-crore subsidy to Telanagana, Mandadi Satyanarayana Reddy (TRS) countered saying this would not be necessary if the Government took up irrigation projects in the region.

Social Welfare Minister Redya Naik informed the Assembly that the Government was examining the issue of establishing residential degree and professional colleges in scheduled areas.

Pension for disabled

Minister for School Education N. Rajyalaxmi told A. Ramanarayan Reddy (Congress) that the Government had decided, in principle, to enhance pension for disabled persons from Rs.100 to Rs.125 from April 1.