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Free power promise will be kept: Eshwarappa

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Review: Minister for Energy K.S. Eshwarappa inspecting a 220-kV power station along with Principal Secretary K. Jairaj and other officials, in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Review: Minister for Energy K.S. Eshwarappa inspecting a 220-kV power station along with Principal Secretary K. Jairaj and other officials, in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Special Correspondent

Minister says the scheme will not be applicable to IP sets used for non-agricultural purposes

State Budget may have a proposal on free power

BJP promised to increase the State’s power generation to 10,000 MW

BANGALORE: Minister for Energy K.S. Eshwrappa on Wednesday sought to remove the uncertainty over promises made by his government to supply free power to farmers.

“Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has made it clear on Tuesday that free power would be provided to all the 17 lakh irrigation pumpsets of farmers in the State. But it will not be given to the IP sets which are being used for non-agricultural purposes,” the Minister told a press conference in Bangalore.

However, he did not indicate the date from when the free supply would commence. He only said that the State Budget to be presented by the Chief Minister might have a proposal in this regard.

Promise

The Bharatiya Janata Party had promised free power supply to farmers if it was voted to power. However, Mr. Yeddyurappa recently expressed his inability to provide free power to all farmers.

The BJP had promised to commence free power supply to farmers within 24 hours of coming to power. When reminded that this promise is yet to be implemented even a month after coming to power, Mr. Eshwarappa remarked: “How do you think that it is possible to implement such a major initiative in just 24 hours. Twenty-four hours are nothing. After all it takes nearly 24 hours to cheer the new government by shouting slogans.”

Old projects

Mr. Eshwarappa counted even the old projects such as the Bellary Thermal Power Station (BTPS) — which are initiated by the previous governments and which are already set to commence commercial operation — as those being taken up to implement his party’s promise of doubling the State’s power generation.

In its poll manifesto, the Bharatiya Janata Party has promised to increase the State’s power generation to 10,000 MW (by adding about 5,000 MW) in the next five years. Minutes after the swearing-in ceremony, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had expressed his party’s commitment to implement this promise.

Implementing promise

However, when the Energy Minister was asked how he would go about implementing his party’s promise, he said: “Of the 5,000 MW of promised additional power, the State is set to get about 1,000 MW of power within this year itself. This includes 500 MW from the first unit of the Bellary Thermal Power Station which is set to be inaugurated soon, 230 MW from the Varahi Hydel Project (which will be ready by November or December this year) and 250 MW from various renewable energy projects.”

All these projects mentioned by the Minister were initiated by the previous governments.

Continuing the list, the Minister said the work on the second generating unit with a capacity of 500 MW in the BTPS would commence in December this year and would be completed in about 24 months.

Similarly, the second phase of the BTPS with 500 MW capacity will be taken up in December 2009 and will be completed in about 30 months.

With this, the Minister said, projects for generating 2,000 MW of power from the promise of 5,000 MW, were ready.

Interestingly, the second unit of the BTPS and its second phase were also conceived by the earlier governments.

Power generation

Mr. Eshwarappa said his Government would give importance to the non-conventional energy and also take steps to increase generation from such resources.

A detailed plan would be formulated for increasing the State’s power generation from various resources including the non-conventional energy.

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