HYDERABAD: The government will give all necessary financial aid and other support to the State power utilities, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announced at a review meeting on the power sector at Pragathi Bhavan here on Wednesday. This promise was made in the light of the Ministry of Power’s order to Discoms to give letters of credit (LCs) for power purchase from August 1.
The CM has instructed Finance officials to prepare contingency plans to help power utilities as and when needed. All steps to keep electricity organisations from a financial crisis would be taken, Rao said, adding that these firms proved their mettle in generation, distribution and supply of power, and stood as role models in the country. “The government will protect them since the State’s development is dependent on electricity organisations,” Rao declared.
Asserting that the government’s motto was “no power breakdown even for the wink of an eye”, the chief minister announced stringent measures to make Discoms financially stable. Accordingly, all government institutions, departments and local bodies should clear power dues on time, he added and announced that ‘Power Week’ would soon be observed in all villages and towns, to settle all electricity-related issues.
“From now, village panchayats, municipalities, corporations, and HMWS should pay their power bills every month. If not, the sarpanch and village secretary, in villages, and the chairperson, and commissioners, in municipalities, will be punished,” the chief minister said.
“The government will go for a one-time settlement of all dues till date. There must be discipline in terms of usage of streetlights in towns and villages... None must be on during the daytime,” Rao directed civic-body officials.
Observing that many government departments were not paying their electricity bills on time, he said that the Finance department would now pay the bills of the departments concerned from their budgetary allocation.
Rao also directed officials to install prepaid metres at all departments. The government will bear the cost with regard to free power for farmers and lift irrigation projects. “For this, a special grant will be made in the Budget and electricity organisations will be paid their dues every month. The government will also stand guarantee to the electricity organisations to raise funds to strengthen them,” Rao said.
Action plan for villages
As part of the government’s action plan, which is being prepared, a 60-day action campaign, including a ‘power week’, will be held in villages and towns. During this period, rectification of twisted poles and power lines, clearing of power bills etc., will be taken up. At the same time, an assessment would be made on the power needed for streetlights. “In cities like Hyderabad, finding place for a sub-station and transformer is becoming difficult. For this, the government will bring in a law making it mandatory for all layouts in towns and cities to make provision for allotting land for substations and transformers,” Rao said.
He also instructed Irrigation and Electricity officials to assess how much power was needed for the lift irrigation schemes and how to procure it.
On solar power
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao also suggested that solar power, which is cheaper, should be used to meet the heavy demand for lift irrigation schemes, and asked officials to invite tenders for 1,000 MWs of solar power