Thursday , 25 April 2019

Rs 1,700 crore to be spent on upgrading power infrastructure

PANAJI: Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar on Friday said the electricity department has prepared estimates of about Rs 1,700 crore for the upgrading the existing infrastructure to ensure quality power supply.

He also informed that the Centre has agreed to provide the 50 per cent funds in the form of grants and remaining 50 per cent also in terms of the long-term loan to carry out the upgradation of power infrastructure.

“With the assistance of Tata Consultancy we have prepared a document about the requirement, calling for upgrading the existing infrastructure. And the estimate which has been prepared is to the tune of Rs 1,700 crore. I submitted the proposal to Union Power Minister R K Singh when I met him in Delhi two days back, and he has assured me to provide the funds,” said Madkaikar while speaking at the inaugural function of the conference on solar energy organised by the CII in Panaji.

He expressed his helplessness in providing uninterrupted power supply, admitting that the state has sufficient power supply but was lacking in the required infrastructure. The existing infrastructure is not adequate to facilitate uninterrupted power supply, he said.

Madkaikar also informed that he had a detailed discussion with Singh about the electricity situation in Goa. Singh was briefed   about how the industry is facing power woes and how the state government couldn’t bring about uninterrupted power supply.

“If Goa receives Rs 1,700 crore from the Centre then I think within next three years we would be able to renew the infrastructure and provide 24X7 uninterrupted quality power supplies,” he said, adding that funds are required to upgrade the Saligao, Sal, Tuem substations along with up-gradation of Ponda to Verna transmission lines.

“We have replaced five power transmission lines and remaining are also required to be replaced in the next 12 months. We also have to carry out replacement work of all low-tension lines of 32 kilovolts (kV) transmission line and 11 kV,” he said.

He said that due to the shortage of coal and hike in diesel prices there has been a substantial rise in thermal power which is proving to be an additional burden on the state.

The minister, however, assured that the power tariff will not be hiked and the additional burden would be borne by the government.

Madkaikar informed that people have sent a lot of suggestions for the solar policy and accordingly the government has formulated a tender document and within next 20 days the government will publish the document for generation of solar power.

“Initially the government will focus on generation of 70 megawatts of solar power and subsequently after achieving the target we will enhance  it,” he said asserting that the target given by the ministry of new and renewable energy to generate 170 megawatts solar power production by 2020 would be achieved.

Later in the day, addressing the conference, Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho said the government should make mandatory for all buildings to have solar power rooftops.

He slammed the Goa Energy and Development Agency for not harnessing the solar energy.

Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai said that green building initiative and incentivising solar power through rebating infrastructure tax will be seriously considered by the government.

Sardesai assured that he would take up the initiative before the Power Minister and the Chief Secretary to make the solar policy operational in the state.

The industrialists participating at the conference pointed out loopholes that may come in way of implementing the solar policy.  They said that no timeline has been framed for approvals of the projects from the GEDA and the electricity department. They also demanded that solar policy should be implemented by a single government agency.

Member Secretary, GEDA, Sanjeev Joglekar informed that the government has formed a committee under the chairmanship of the Power Minister to oversee the problems that would be faced by the solar industry and to resolve the same.

He also said the tender to empanel the agency was being prepared by GEDA along with the parameters, which will be decided in next 30 days.

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