KARNATAKA

CM stresses need for meeting project deadlines

TALAGUPPA (SHIMOGA DT.) May 22. The Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, said here on Thursday that any useful public work or project, if it was not completed within the timeframe set for it, would not only result in cost overruns but also cause inconvenience to the public.

He made the observation with reference to the "inordinate" delay in completing the 220/400 kV step-up station, 400 kV double-circuit transmission line from Talaguppa to Nelamangala, and the 400/220 kV receiving station at Nelamangala of the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (KPTCL), which he dedicated to the nation.

He said that the project, which was taken up in 1989, should have been completed by 1993. "It is stated that the project will bring in savings to the tune of Rs. 40 crore each year. If it had been completed on schedule, one could well imagine the crores of rupees it would have saved," he said. "... Every unit of power saved is one unit of power generated," he added.

`Delays inexcusable'

Mr. Krishna said that delays in the completion of projects, which caused cost overruns, were inexcusable. There was a lesson for all of us to learn from this project: the need to avoid delay. He asked the implementing agencies to stick to the time schedule for the completion of projects. "The nation is benefited only if such projects are completed as scheduled," he added.

The power problem was uniformly severe throughout the country barring Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh, the Chief Minister said, and added that serious efforts were being made to solve the problem in Karnataka.

He said that after signing the memorandum of understanding with the Union Government under the Central Accelerated Power Development Scheme, plans for power generation were drawn up and many milestones achieved. Under the scheme, power improvement projects had been implemented recently in Bijapur and near Mangalore, he added.

Mr. Krishna said that he was not underestimating the seriousness of the power problem. The commissioning of the power receiving station here was an example of the Government's commitment to tackling the power crisis, he added.

Neglect of forest degradation had led to the paucity of rains, he said. However, the forest cover in the State had been increasing as a result of massive afforestation and watershed programmes, and desilting of tanks being implemented by the Government. He sought the active participation of the people and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in projects.

The Chief Minister said the people of Sagar taluk were justified in complaining that the problems related to power supply faced by them were not being looked into although their taluk had made a significant sacrifice for the implementation of a hydel project. He directed the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (KPTCL) to construct a separate dedicated sub-station at Sagar. He added that a Rs. 6-crore plan had already been drawn up, and the project would be completed in 12 months.

He asked the staff of the Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (Mescom) to respond to the power problems in Hosnagar and Tirthahalli taluks in Shimoga District by completing the ongoing rural electrification programme.

Encroachments

Referring to bagair hukum cultivators, he said forest officials had come in way of poor farmers cultivating forestland. Their plea was that they were doing so because of the Supreme Court order. "But we have to stick to the sacred concept of social justice and solve the problem decisively by responding positively to it," he said, and added that a subcommittee of the Cabinet was looking into possible steps to overcome the problem.

The Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Kagodu Thimmappa, who is the minister in charge of Shimoga District, presided.

The Minister of State for Energy, Basavaraj Patil, said the Government had been taking several steps to improve the management of power distribution.

Although there was an acute shortage of power, the Government had been supplying power to irrigation pumpsets (IP sets) by offering a subsidy to the tune of Rs. 1,700 crore, which had benefited nearly 15 lakh families of farmers.

He said that there was an outstanding balance of Rs. 1,100 crore to be paid by farmers for power supplied to IP sets. The Chief Minister had offered to waive the interest on the balance if farmers paid their dues before July-end, he said, and asked farmers to make use of it.

The KPTCL Managing Director, K.N. Shrivatsava, welcomed the gathering. The Mescom Managing Director, Gaurav Gupta, proposed a vote of thanks.

The Minister of State for Municipal Administration, Kumar Bangarappa, the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, D.H. Shankaramurthy, the MLC, Shantaveerappa Gowda, the MLAs, H.M. Chandrasekharappa, G.D. Naryanappa, and Mahalingappa, and the President of the zilla panchayat, Gayathri Revappa, were present.

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