OTHERS

Rs.100 cr. for power sector in Hassan Circle

HASSAN JULY 3. With the Union Power Ministry taking the lead in initiating power sector reforms, most State governments have followed suit. The Ministry is extending financial and technical assistance to State electricity boards through their respective governments to improve functional efficiency and reduce transmission and distribution losses.

The State has already benefited in this regard with the Chief Minister, S.M.Krishna's home district of Mandya being chosen for implementation of the Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP). Taking a cue from their neighbours, the authorities of Mangalore Electric Supply Company (Mescom) here have submitted a project report to the Ministry.

A senior official of Mescom told The Hindu here that under APDP, the Power Ministry would provide Rs.100 crore to Hassan Circle comprising Hassan, Channarayapatna and Madikeri sub-divisions. Under this scheme, emphasis would be laid on reducing load on the system, prompted to a large extent due to various populist schemes of the government in the past.

Once cleared by the Ministry, the project would be implemented on a turnkey basis with the department floating tenders inviting interested parties to take up work as per specification. The Ministry was extending special grants made available to it by the Asian Development Bank, to the States to help them carry out the reforms.

The official said that there were 42 11 kV lines in the Hassan Sub-Division catering mostly to the needs of cities, towns and farmers.

With agriculture operations in the sub-division mostly being carried out in dry land areas, power became a necessity unlike in parts of Channarayapatna Sub-Division, which had a well spread out network of irrigation facility.

The question of confronting farmers on qualitative power supply could be touchy for most governments. Forced to carry out agriculture under adverse conditions, farmers often tapped power lines besides their land, leading to overload on the transformer and breakdown in the power distribution network based on supplying feeders.

Besides as the department, irrespective of its constantly changing nomenclature, was strapped of funds to carry out periodic maintenance, it had to face criticism over mounting transmission and distribution losses. The official said that these losses in the district was about 20 per cent compared to the State average of 30 per cent, leading to revenue losses and poor service to consumers.

However, these lacunae would be addressed under the APDP. The authorities would use big conductors, install more transformers to reduce load on the feeders in addition to increasing the number of feeders themselves. New link lines would be drawn from the respective receiving stations to ensure better power supply.

The details of the proposed reforms package to be taken up under the programme would be known once the authorities here received clearance for the project, expected during the end of this month, the official said.

He hinted at the possibility of providing one transformer to four irrigation pumpsets, a long-standing demand of farmers in these parts.

Besides, with regularisation of a large number of irrigation pumpsets under the recently undertaken Anti-Theft Law drive, the department hoped to better map the actual energy consumption in the district and take steps to augment facilities to provide reliable service. Improvement of voltage supplied through feeders would also form part of the programme, the official said.

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