March 15

Parliamentary panel for formulation of new hydro power policy

New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel has asked the government to formulate a new hydro power policy to address various issues related to the sector and harness the potential renewable source of the energy. 

The government should formulate a new hydro policy which will address the existing as well as the anticipated problems being faced by this sector, the Standing Committee on Energy said in its report tabled in Parliament today. 

It expressed hope that the issues such as providing long term cheaper loan and sharing the burden of enabling infrastructure for hydro power projects and considering all hydro projects as renewable irrespective to their capacities will be taken care of while formulating the new policy. 

The Power Ministry is working on a Rs 16,000 crore hydro policy to boost the renewable source of energy. 

As on January 31, 2018, India had 44.93 GW installed hydro power capacity. The pace of implementing hydro power projects has slowed down as 5.4GW was installed during the 12th Plan period till March 31, 2017 as against the target of 10.89 GW, the report noted. 

The panel also recommended the Finance Ministry to allocate extra funds to Power Ministry at revised estimate stage if required. 

It noted that against the proposed allocation of Rs 36,843.32 crore by Ministry of Power for 2018-19, the Ministry of Finance have allocated Rs 15,046.32 crore only which is slightly higher than Rs 13,881 crore allocated last year but it is 50 per cent less than the proposed. 

It said that the budgetary cut is across the board and all the important flagship programmes of the Ministry are affected. 

Citing instances, the panel said that against the demand of Rs 26,271 crore, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY) has been allocated Rs 6,550 crore only. 

Similarly, under the integrated Power Development Scheme a demand of Rs 5,950 crore has been reduced to Rs 4,935 crore. 

The committee said that at the one hand government is striving hard to achieve the goal of universal electrification in the country and strengthen the power system, on the other hand they are resorting to severe budgetary cuts. 

Talking about the DDUGJY, the panel noted that against the sanctioned feeder segregation 1,59,801 circuit kilometers (CKM), the achievement so far is only 15,244 CKM which stands a meagre 10 per cent the sanctioned capacity. 

It observed that against the sanctioned 1,825 new sub-stations, only 215 new sub-stations which is 12 per cent of the sanctioned under the scheme, which is 12 per cent the sanctioned, has so far been commissioned. 

A total of 3,85,883 distribution transformers has been sanctioned under the DDUGJY, however, the achievement so far is only 38,719, it added. 

It recommended that the monitoring mechanism for DDUGJY should be reviewed and made more effective so that accountability many be fixed and panel action may be taken against the erring persons. 

It also stressed on the need for more allocation of funds for research and development for power sector.

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