BENGALURU: The Energy Department is pushing solar projects undertaken both under the state and central governments, by issuing clearances in record time and fewer hassles. Energy Minister D K Shivakumar held a video conference with all Deputy Commissioners to check the status of projects in their districts and it has emerged that deemed land conversion in many of the districts has been causing a headache for the department.
The department had recently issued an order to all DCs that only three documents were enough to grant this permission, but complaints from various people revealed that the DCs have been asking for 18 documents or more in many cases.
Additional Chief Secretary (Energy) P Ravikumar said that despite orders issued to the effect that only three documents were necessary, permission was still not being granted. Shivakumar instructed all the DCs to grant clearances as early as possible for deemed conversion.
Solar projects have a window of one year to eighteen months to start generation and the minister was incensed that land conversion was proving to be a major hurdle for many. In one instance in Koppal, deemed land conversion for 15 acres has taken eight months for something that should have taken 15 days.
Shivakumar was also angry at officials from Tumakuru who have been unable to resolve the matter of installing four transmission poles, as the villagers are refusing to give their land for it. “This is an prestigious international project and everything is ready except for these four poles. We are losing `30 lakh a day because of this delay. If you are not able to perform then get out,” he fumed.
The 90 MW project is completely ready, except for the four poles which is preventing transmission of power as the farmers are seeking more compensation.
The minister brushed aside the excuses of the Belagavi DC, who said that six out of eight projects were cleared and two of them had been put on hold as the District Minister (Ramesh Jarkiholi) wanted to discuss about them.
Shivakumar immediately told him not to wait for the District Minister and clear the applications immediately. “No one should interfere. It’s a time-bound project. Do not listen to any politician or anybody. Take it up immediately,” Shivakumar said.
The state government hopes to generate 6,500 MW of solar power by 2022 and hopes to cross 5,000 MW by the end of next year.
1,500 MW returned to Central grid
Karnataka has returned 1,500 MW of power back to the Central grid, due to lack of demand. At present, the demand is about 7,000 MW per day. Shivakumar expressed concern about most of the reservoirs in the state having filled up to only 35 per cent of their capacity. Depending on the demand and rainfall, the state might contemplate purchasing 1,000 MW of power from October, he added.