'Invest More in Power Transmission and Distribution' - The New Indian Express

'Invest More in Power Transmission and Distribution'

Published: 01st August 2014 09:44 AM

Last Updated: 01st August 2014 09:47 AM

BHUBANESWAR: Minister of State for Energy Pranab Prakash Das on Thursday called for more investment in the transmission and distribution sectors.

Expressing concern over huge transmission and distribution (T&D) loss to the tune of 47 per cent in the State, the Minister said it should be reduced significantly for the viability of the power distribution companies.

Though there is enough potential in the distribution sector, investors are not coming forward to take the opportunity and benefit from the schemes announced by the Government, Das said while addressing the Odisha Energy Conclave organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) here.

Infrastructure is a critical requirement for facilitating sustained economic growth and development. The inherent comparative advantages of the State in terms of abundant natural resources, human resources and investment-friendly policies, need to be leveraged adequately, backed by a strong power sector infrastructure, he added.

The Minister said Rs 2,000 crore will be spent to improve power distribution and provide quality power round the clock under the State Capital Region Improvement of Power System (SCRIPS) in areas comprising Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Khurda and Jatni.

Principal Secretary, Energy, Pradeep Kumar Jena said there is no problem in installation of new power plants. The real problem is in the distribution sector.

“The private partners did not invest a penny in upgrading the networks while the Central Government closed some funding channels because of privatisation,” he said.

Meanwhile, the State Government has approved nine projects of around Rs 11,000 crore for strengthening power transmission network, Jena said.

Chairman and Managing Director of Gridco and Odisha Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (OPTCL) Hemant Sharma lamented that maximum emphasis is given on power generation while the transmission and distribution sector is neglected.

Blaming the policy confusion for poor participation of private players in the distribution sector, Sharma said each rupee invested in power generation should see a similar amount in transmission sector too.

Chief General Manager of the State Bank of India KM Trivedy said the bank has financed more than `1.5 lakh crore in this sector out of which more than 80 per cent is in power generation. He strongly advocated a greater role for women self help groups in distribution sector and more focus on renewable energy.

Vishal Agarwal, Chairman of ICC, Odisha chapter, Sudipta Das of Ernst and Young and JB Pany, Executive Member of ICC Odisha Expert Committee also spoke.

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