Rajasthan has once again made out a case for special status in the power sector and sought allocation of Rs.1,350 crore for electrification of villages, with a population ranging between 100 and 300. The State has pointed out that it incurs greater expenditure on power supply by laying the transmission lines in the desert, hilly and tribal-dominated regions.

Energy Minister Jitendra Singh said at a conference of Ministers from all States in New Delhi earlier this week that the difficult geography of Rajasthan had made it comparable with the country’s North-Eastern region. “Rajasthan bears a greater financial burden for delivery of coal to thermal power plants situated in remote areas such as Suratgarh,” he said.

In addition to special status for the State, Mr. Singh sought allotment from the Union Government’s unallotted quota from the Central pool of power to meet the demand for electricity during the coming rabi crop season.

Union Minister of State for Power Jyotiraditya Scindia presided over the conference, held at Constitution Club in the national Capital. Mr. Singh said the State Government had submitted proposals to the Centre for electrification of villages with a population of 100 to 300 under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme and sought allocation of Rs.1,350 crore for the work.

“Despite the release of power connections on a massive scale, there are lakhs of households in small villages in the Thar Desert, Shekhawati region and the tribal-dominated Mewar area, which are still deprived of electricity,” said Mr. Singh. Allocation of additional funds would ensure speedy completion of work extending the benefit to a large number of people, he added.

The “power for all” announcement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently could be implemented in its letter and spirit only if the Centre provides financial assistance for the specific requirements reported by States, said Mr. Singh.

The State has pointed out that it incurs greater expenditure on power supply by laying the transmission lines in the desert, hilly and tribal-dominated regions