BHUBANESWAR: Minister of State for Energy Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak on Friday said in the Assembly that steps are being taken by the Government to improve the power situation even as the Congress members staged a walkout.
The State Government has not been able to generate even one MW power during the last 12 years, Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh alleged while leading the walkout.
Replying to discussion on the demand for grant of the Energy Department, the Minister admitted that because of rapid industrialisation and other factors, the gap between availability and demand of power has widened in the State. He, however, maintained that shortage of power has become a national phenomenon. Besides, the consumer base has increased to 40 lakh from 23 lakh and the demand for power at peak hours has also gone up, he said.
The Minister said efforts by the Government to bridge the gap by generating more power are continuing. However, out of the 29 MoUs, signed by the State Government, coal blocks have been given to only seven independent power producers (IPPs). Other states have been given coal blocks in Odisha, he said.
He, however, said two to three power plants will be completed by end of 2013. Generation of power has also not improved because of the hike in the price of coal by the Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) and unavailability of coal.
Atanu said the Government has also decided to take steps to strengthen the transmission and distribution system. He said a decision has been taken to set up grids in every 30 kms so that power can be transferred to all parts in the State.
Atanu did not give any clue to the members on the impending power tariff hike. When asked by some members, he said the State Government has nothing to do with it. The Government has strongly recommended that there should not be any tariff hike in domestic sector, he said. Hours after the statement, OERC effected a steep hike in power tariff.