Special Correspondent

Workshop on "policy alternatives in power sector'' in Jaipur

90,000 electricity connections have been released to agricultural consumers during the last two yearsRajasthan has purchased power from other States at high prices to meet the demand

JAIPUR: The potential for growth in the power sector and the scope for power generation through non-conventional sources in Rajasthan were highlighted at a two-day workshop on "Policy alternatives in power sector'' here this past week-end with the experts calling for effective steps to check transmission and distribution losses.

The workshop was organised by the Jaipur-based Social Policy Research Institute. The Minister of State for Energy, Gajendra Singh, inaugurating the workshop, said the work was progressing at a fast pace on new power projects in Giral, Barsingsar, Dholpur and Chhabra, while additional units were being installed at the Kota and Suratgarh thermal power stations.

Mr. Singh pointed out that the feeder renovation scheme taken up across the State at a cost of Rs. 5,000 crores would ensure round-the-clock supply of electricity to villages on its completion and would help check the theft of power. The State Government, he added, had accorded the highest priority to power generation treating it as a window to development.

While many participants felt that non-conventional sources such as wind power and solar power should be tapped for generating electricity, the founder-chairperson of the institute and former Chief Minister, Shiv Charan Mathur, said the proposed oil refinery in the Barmer-Sanchore basin should also be utilised for power generation in future.

The Chairman and Managing Director of Vidyut Nigams of the State, Shrimat Pandey, said nearly 90,000 electricity connections had been released to agricultural consumers during the last two years. Rajasthan had purchased power from other States at high prices to meet the demand that exceeded supply several times, he added.

The State Energy Secretary, Yaduvendra Mathur, said the farmers should be encouraged to take steps for saving electricity through regular awareness campaigns. He added that information about crops needing less irrigation water -- which in turn would consume less power -- should be disseminated in the rural areas.

Mr. Mathur said the State Government was establishing special centres to check the transmission and distribution losses. Among others who addressed the workshop were former Judge, Justice M. L. Shrimal, and the Director of the institute, Sudhir Sharma.