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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Obsolete system

Saturday, 05 August 2017 12:06
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Successive governments in the State have found themselves beset with power woes. Various pretexts had been forwarded to justify why there are recurring power cuts or why there is power failure or why we have perennial power shortages. There may be sound reasons, no doubt. However, that does not mean that we remain content with what is there and not try to improve it or at least understand that we are running an obsolete infrastructure of our power sector. Why are policy planners failing to demonstrate vision and initiative, and who is to infuse these into the working of the State Power Department? We are accustomed to the patent rhetoric and we are almost reconciled to what we are facing in power sector. The fundamental question is why the State is not responding to the initiatives, schemes and projects devised and sponsored by the Union Government to take various steps that would lead to considerable improvement of power sector in the states including ours. Hindsight shows that more often than not the State Government has failed to implement most of the innovative and reformative schemes devised by the Union Government. We are at a loss to understand the reasons for the State Government to soft play with all the proposed projects and leave the state power situation to its fate. It can be recalled that on October 16, 2014, the Prime Minister launched two schemes named -- Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DUGJY) and Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for rural and urban areas of the country. While DUGJY is aimed at feeder separation, strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks, metering at all level in the rural areas and village electrification as per the approved guidelines, the IPDS aims at strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network, metering of distribution transformers, feeders and consumers in the urban areas and information technology enablement of distribution sector. Now, these schemes came into being after a thorough study of power supply situation in the country. Like many other states, we also need to address these issues on war footing. It is true that a system is built up and these schemes are to go through a process in which the states have to do much of homework before the final stage of grant of funds is reached. All this is linked with the technicalities of power supply. In simple words the underlying objectives of these schemes is to ensure uninterrupted and energy access to all. The preliminary stage of the project is to prepare Need Assessment Document (NAD). With this in hand, the State would approach nodal agencies -- REC and PFC for further action. While most of the states in the country either have completed or are in the process of completing the NAS, it is not known whether our State has made any progress towards this end. Among others, the state Government has stated that power sector was a priority. But that is what previous regimes, too, have been telling. However, on the ground, we find little activity to show that the sector is treated on priority. Since long, our power department has been complaining about obsoleteness of transmission lines and the loss of power, first by pilferages and second by using outdated and obsolete transmission lines. Now, if the two schemes floated by the Prime Minister promise to take care of these two and other problems, why is our Government not taking steps to respond to them? Many far flung rural villages and localities in the State remain plunged in darkness for most part of the day and the week and nobody listens to their grievances. Our power supply system is obsolete and out dated. It will work no more. 


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