Stating that the complaints about power cut problems in the state will be very less by the next budget session, as the government has been taking various measures to improve the power supply, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday told the state assembly that various works of Rs 755 crore pertaining to power supply under priority are in the process.
Replying on electricity demand for grants, Parrikar, who is handling the Power portfolio in the absence of the concerned minister Pandurang Madkaikar, informed that work orders of Rs 410 crore different works have been already issued by the electricity department and another Rs 411 crore-related works have been tendered.
“The department has issued work orders of
Rs 410 crore different works including underground cabling in various parts costing Rs 113 crore, Rs 145 crore works for laying aerial bunching line, 33/ 11 KV sub-station at Karaswada costing Rs 10 crore, a gas-insulated power centre at Patto-Panaji costing 25 crore. Underground cabling works include in Netravali village costing
Rs 40 crore and other remote areas,” he added.
Parrikar said that out of the total Rs 2,166 crore budgetary provision for the electricity department, Rs 317 crore has been kept for subsidies like power connection to common man’s house, agriculture etc, adding that the government is also paying bills to National Thermal Power Corporation and National Renewable Energy Corporation on green power, which is about 6 megawatt. “Rs 75 crore has been kept for
automation of electric network centre besides order has been already placed for new conductors and transformers costing Rs 13 crore,” he said.
The Chief Minister further said that he has directed the electricity department to adopt standard operating procedure for cutting trees causing danger to power supply lines. “This year, the main reason for power cuts was unseasonal rain with local cyclone which resulted in a huge loss to the department. I have already told the department to take up cutting of trees which pass over power supply lines from February next year. I will give forest permission for the purpose. Further, underground cabling will be done in tribal-populated areas,” he said.
He informed that the government will formulate a policy after the assembly session for regularising contractual meter readers, linesmen and line helpers working in the electricity department.
As far as the LED street light issue is concerned, Parrikar informed that the first phase work involving the installation of 1.95 lakh LED lights will be completed by September, probably before the Ganesh festival and the second phase work will be taken up from December onwards.
He also informed that though the department has received some applications for taking benefit under the solar power policy, there are some minor problems that have cropped up in its implementation which will be rectified soon.
Parrikar appealed to the consumers that they should be ready to pay a little more as power tariff to improve the quality of service, adding that the study conducted by the government has indicated that Goa is not suitable for generation of wind power.
Meanwhile, stressing on the need to expedite the implementation of the newly formed Goa solar policy, Deputy Speaker and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo urged the state government to enact a legislation so as to make solar rooftops mandatory for new commercial establishments in the coastal belt of the state.
“When permission is sought to construct a hotel or business establishment, there should be a clause to mandatorily install a solar power system for which we need to formulate a law,” said Lobo on the floor of the House while speaking during the discussion on demands which included the non-conventional source of energy.
He said that 50 per cent of the establishments in the coastal belt lack solar power system. “If the hotels have solar rooftops and they produce sufficient power for their own consumption then it will take off the burden from the electricity department and could eliminate the issue of frequent power failures, especially in the coastal areas,” he said.
Speaking on the social welfare department, Lobo urged the government to hike the financial assistance under the Dayanand Social Security Scheme (DSSS) extended to citizens, widows and others from the current Rs 2,000 per month to Rs 3,000. However, he said that the hike should come into effect only when mining activity resumes in Goa so as to avoid further burden on the state’s economy.
Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar urged Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to intervene and take up the matter before the central government ensuring an amendment to the related Act and order during the ongoing session of the Parliament so as to include Goa’s Dhangar-Gouly community in the ST category. He alleged that the government servants from the category of Other Backward Classes were not given preference for promotion in their respective departments.
Majority of the MLAs including from the ruling government demanded that the government achieve total LED street-lighting before the commencement of Ganesh Chaturthi, a popular festival of Goa.
The MLAs also raised the issue of frequent power failures in their respective constituencies and asked the government to come up with a proper plan to tackle such situations.