Thursday, November 9, 2017

24-hour power supply to farmers-a record : Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

24-Hour Power Supply to farmers-a record
Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao

Telangana state has created a new record of supplying quality power at free of cost for 24 hours to the Agriculture sector.  For the first time in the history 24 hours power is being supplied on an experimental basis to 23 Lakh agriculture pump sets in the state.  Nowhere in the country it had happened before. This is great news to the farmers who faced power problems for decades together. The Power Utilities of the State will closely monitor the transmission and distribution network for 5 to 6 days and supply 24 hours uninterrupted power on permanent basis from the coming Rabi season.
In Telangana state 25% of power is being utilised by Agriculture pump sets.  After formation of State within few days, 9 hours quality power was given to all the pump sets. 24 hours power supply has been experimented to the farmers of erstwhile Medak, Karimnagar and Nalgonda districts from July 2017.  The power that is required for this is also being procured.  In the recent past, when there was maximum demand of 9500 MW on a day in the state, 198 million units of power was supplied without any interruption. The power corporations are ready to supply 11000 MW to meet the demand to provide 24 hours power for Agriculture sector in the ensuing Rabi season.  

On the day of formation of Telangana there was a severe crisis in power sector.  Due to power cuts people faced untold difficulties. The official power cuts were implemented daily for 2 to 4 hours in Hyderabad, 6 hours in other cities and towns and 9 hours in villages.  There were 2 days power holidays in a week for industries.  Due to shortage of power, industries were shut down on a massive scale. The industrialists under the aegis of FICCI, CII resorted to agitations for power.  At Indira park and in Vidyut Soudha office protests were the order of the day. One had to think twice before starting a new industry in the state.   Crops dried up due to non-availability of power even for 2 to 3 hours to agriculture sector.  Even though ground water was available this water could not be utilised due to non-availability of power and the farming community stood aghast in dilemma when crops dried up.  Due to extensive crop loss the farmers were financially bankrupt.

On the day of formation of Telangana, the installed power generation capacity in the state was 6,574 MW comprising of 4,300 MW of Thermal capacity and 2,081 MW of Hydel Power. There was a power deficit of 2700 MW at that time in Telangana State. The supply was disproportionate with the demand.  Due to the negligent attitude and due to lack of planning of erstwhile government there was absolute doom in all sectors.   The power situation was in despair.  There is a sea change in the power situation in the State now.

From a gloomy situation to turn into magnificent Telangana many efforts were put in.  As soon as Telangana state was formed, government gave utmost priority to uplift the state from power crisis.  Short term, medium term and long-term planning was evolved and implemented. An action plan was developed to transform Telangana state into a power surplus state with an investment about Rs. 94000 Crores.  Government took steps to accelerate pace of ongoing generation plant works.  The construction of new plants was started.  The transmission and distribution systems were strengthened. 

When Telangana state was formed the installed capacity was 6574 MW. Since then, in the first three and half years, an additional 7981 MW was commissioned which includes 1200 MW through Singareni Power Plant, 600 MW through KTPP, 240 MW through Jurala, 90 MW through Pulichintala, 1000 MW from Chhattisgarh besides 2000 MW from CGS and other generators. Aiming at enhancing the green power production, new solar policy was introduced.  Because of this, with about 2792 MW of solar power capacity, Telangana state stood first in the entire country.  Due to above efforts, the installed power generation capacity in Telangana state reached 14555 MW.  New plants construction is going on for another 13752 MW of power generation.  In addition to 24 hours power supply to the agriculture sector, new Lift Irrigation projects require 8500 MW of power.  To meet the demand of Lift Irrigation and new Industries that are going to be established in the State, new power plants construction is also taken up. The construction of 4000 MW capacity Yadadri Ultra Mega Power Plant has started. 1880 MW of power will be available through the power plants which are under construction at Manuguru and Kothagudam areas.  1600 MW power plant is under construction under aegis of NTPC. Government has fixed a target of establishing more than 28000 MW installed power generation capacity and to transform the Telangana state into power surplus state.  For achieving complete transparency and to avoid delays, the construction of power plants was handed over to public sector unit BHEL.

Transmission and Distribution systems are strengthened with an investment of Rs. 12136 Crores. On the day of formation of Telangana there were six 400 kV substations.  Another five were newly constructed increasing the number to 11 substations. Plans were developed to construct another five 400 kV substations adding to the 51. By adding 19 new 220 kV substations that were there at the time of formation of State the total number reached to 70.  The number of 132 kV substations were 176 and subsequently by adding 35 more the total number reached 211.  There were 2181 number of 33 kV substations and 515 were newly constructed taking their strength to 2696.  On the day of formation of Telangana, there were 2414 substations of all types and to these 574 substations were newly added taking the total to 2988 substations.

To strengthen the transmission and distribution system, plans are afoot to construct 18 new 400 kV substations, 34 more 220 kV substations, 90 more 132 kV substations and 937 new   33/11 kV substations with an investment of Rs. 42000 Crores.

At the time of formation of the State, the length of 400 KV lines was about 1682 kilometres.  Later in the first three and half years another 1012 kilometres of 400 KV lines were laid. And the length of 220 kV lines was about 5559 kilometres and in the first three and half years, another 1340 kilometres lines were laid. Similarly, 132 kV lines were about 9136 kilometres and newly 1184 kilometres lines were laid. The total High- Tension lines at the time of state formation were 16378 kilometres.  After formation of Telangana 3537 kilometres of EHT lines were laid.  All this resulted in 19916 kilometres of High tension power lines.

The distribution lines were also increased on a massive scale.  33 kV lines were about 17760 kilometres and additionally 4180 kilometres lines were laid.  11 kV lines were about 120834 kilometres and newly 25551 kilometres lines were laid.  LT lines were about 294374 kilometres and newly 21302 kilometres lines were laid.  The total distribution lines were about 432968 Kilometres and newly 51033 kilometres were added to it taking the total to 484001. For ensure the supply in accordance with increasing demand the High-Tension transformer capacity was increased from 12653 MW to 20660 MW.

Due to the initiatives of Telangana state new power lines connecting North and South grid could be taken-up by PGCIL.  Wardha-Maheswaram via Dichpalli 765 KV double circuit lines construction was completed. 765 KV Varora-Warangal line will be completed by 2020. Through these lines Telangana state had signed an agreement with PGCIL to get 2000 MW of power. 

 To maintain uninterrupted supply to the twin cities, 400 KV ring system has been established around GHMC area by erecting 142 CKM of 400 KV lines inter linking the substations and building six 220 KV substations around the city.

As an appreciation of the financial discipline and excellent functioning of Telangana state power corporations, the financial institutions like REC, PFC had reduced the interest rate on loans from 12% to 9.95%. With this every year there is reduction of 200 crores interest burden on power corporations. To remove financial burden on Discoms, Telangana state had joined Uday Scheme. The Government has taken over Rs.8923 Crores of Loans of the State Discoms.    With this the Discoms will be able to invest more in the strengthening of the distribution network. 

Per capita power usage is an indicator of a State buoyancy. The per capita usage of Telangana is more than the Nation’s average. The per capita consumption has increased from 1200 units at the time of formation of State to 1505 units later means an increase of 26%.  In 2016-17 Telangana per capita is more than national average of 1122 units by 383 units. This increase reflects the progress of Telangana state and improved livelihood of people of Telangana.

If power corporations are strengthened and power generation is done in public sector, many more subsidies can be extended to poor people of the state.  This was the contemplation of the government from the beginning.  Accordingly, along with free 24 hours power supply to agriculture, subsidies were also given to the poor.  The Government had allocated Rs.4777 crores in the budget for extending power subsidies to the poor. To make a better use of 24 Hour power supply the farmers are expected to remove auto starters not only to save power but also to conserve the ground water.

(Source CM KCR Statement in Assembly on 08-11-2017)

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