Lamenting that the department of electricity has been sidelined during the meetings of the state Investment Promotion Board (IPB), Power Minister Milind Naik on Wednesday said that this has led to his department being totally ignorant about the requirement of power by industrial units, which are granted in-principle clearance by the Board.
“The department of electricity only comes to know about this requirement once the in-principle clearance is granted by the Board,” he said, adding, “And then we have to study the feasibility report for each of such units as well as find out the availability of electricity with us before making any commitment.” He further observed that the head of the department of electricity should be compulsorily invited to attend the meetings of the IPB.
Naik also said that presently around 10 to 15 applications from various industries are pending before the department of electricity as regards releasing power connections to them.
Naik earlier announced the implementation of the government scheme – ‘Jyotirmay Goa’ – throughout Goa from July 8 to July 25. He made the announcement at the Bharatiya Janata Party city headquarters in the presence of the state party president Vinay Tendulkar.
The scheme envisages distribution of three Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs, free of cost, to each household, on producing the latest copy of the paid electricity bill, along with the identification document. It may be recalled that earlier, the central government had announced distribution of LED bulbs at a subsidised rate of Rs 25 per bulb to the consumers under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship programme ‘Ujala’. However, the state cabinet recently decided to provide these bulbs free of cost to Goans.
The scheme will be launched on July 8 at 25 places around Goa, and between July 8 and July 25 cover 227 locations in the state. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will be present at Margao during the launch, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar in Panaji, and Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza in Mapusa.
Speaking further, the Power Minister said that around 4.84 lakh households would be covered under the particular scheme, with approximately 15 lakh bulbs distributed to these households. “Despite providing the bulbs free of cost to the consumers, the government will save around Rs 6 crore during the current financial year, even after bearing total subsidy cost of around Rs 11 crore,” he maintained, informing that every 9 watt LED bulbs would be equivalent to a normal 60 watt bulb.
Replying to a question, Naik said that the department of electricity faces utmost load on power by May end, as people use maximum electricity during the summer. He also maintained that the falling of branches and trees during the monsoon results in lot of complaints being received by the department as regards power failure.
Answering another question, the Power Minister said that the transition to the new system in the department of electricity, through Goa Electronics Ltd (GEL), is responsible for many consumers not receiving their power bills since past few months. “The situation will definitely improve within next 2-3 months with improvement in the printing of the bills,” he assured, noting that directions have been already given to the assistant engineers of the department of electricity to rectify the erroneous bills, if any, whenever the consumers approach the department with complaints about inflated bills.