Power highway must for solving shortage: Balan

Staff Reporter

Concerns of farmers to be addressed through talks

Foundations laid for 33-kV sub-station at ThiruvambadiHalf the power needed for State being bought now at high rates

KOZHIKODE: Minister for Electricity A.K. Balan has said that the Koodamkulam-Mysore 400-kV power highway is necessary for solving the power crisis in the State.

Speaking after laying the foundation stone for a 33-kV electricity substation at Thambalamanna in Thiruvambadi, Mr. Balan said that once the highway started functioning, the State would not face shortage of power even during severe drought. The situation now was such that half the electricity needed for Kerala was being bought from other States and distributed. Power that cost nearly Rs. 7 a unit was being distributed at a highly subsidised rate. Though the situation called for raising the electricity charges, the Government was somehow managing with the present rates to avoid overburdening people.

He said the concerns of farmers regarding the power highway would be resolved through talks. The Government did not want farmers to lose income from agricultural lands which might have to be acquired for the power highway. The lines for the highway would be drawn at a height of 76 metres.

He said the Government had signed a pact with the National Thermal Power Corporation for the Rs. 441-crore Rajiv Gandhi Grameena Vaidyutikaran Yojana, which covered the entire State. The project would be started in six districts of Malabar and Idukki in the first phase. The Government had earmarked Rs. 54.83 crore for Kozhikode district under the project. Works estimated at Rs. 10.6 crore would be implemented in Thiruvambadi. The project would be completed in two years.

George M. Thomas, MLA, presided. Thiruvambadi grama panchayat president Joly Joseph, district panchayat member Milli Mohan and the Kerala State Electricity Board member A.G. Bhadran participated.

The Minister also inaugurated an electrical section office at Puthupady. Mr. Thomas presided. Puthupady grama panchayat president Girija John and vice-president T.M. Paulose participated.