`KSEB should be a company by June'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 17. The Electricity Minister, Aryadan Mohammed, today said in the Assembly that power connections applied for before December 31, 2003, would be given within a year.

Replying to a debate on the demand for grants for Power, the Minister said that in the case of applicants from families below the poverty line, backlog up to December 31, 2004, would be cleared.

Mr. Mohammed said that it was imperative that the State Electricity Board became a company in June this year as the extension period granted by the Centre for implementation of the provisions of the Central Electricity Act would end that month.

Legal position

The Government was examining the legal position to see whether a subsidiary company would have to be formed for distribution. In any case, the companies would be fully owned by the Government.

He said the Government expected assistance from the Centre shortly for electrification of 2,700 hamlets.

It had been able to persuade the Centre to change the norms for assistance under the intensive programme for electrification of villages.

The State would not have normally received the assistance as electricity had reached all villages in the State. Kerala was 18th in the country regarding electrification in the domestic sector.

He announced that power would be supplied to community drinking water schemes at 1.15 paise a unit subject to a maximum of 40 units.

`No corruption'

Denying allegations of corruption in the purchase of computer hardware and software by the State Electricity Board, raised by Mathai Chacko of CPI(M), the Minister said the allegations were being raised to stall the computerisation.

Some employees feared that their promotional prospects would be diminished because of computerisation. The Government, he added, was determined to complete computerisation before the end of its term. No promotional avenues would be refused in an unfair manner.

Mr. Mohammed also denied any irregularity in the proposal to appoint Pricewater Cooper as the consultants for preparing the blueprint for unbundling of the Board.

The proposal had since been abandoned, as no consultant was needed for converting the Board into a public sector company.

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