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Govt. of Orissa press release on CM’s meeting with central power minsiter Sushil Shinde on village electrification

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The following is from a Orissa government press release:

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met the Union Power Minister Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde and pressed for inclusion of all the 30 districts of the State in the Village Electrification Programme this year. The Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) has so far included only 4 districts of the State for Village Electrification. The CM, Orissa claimed that since DPRs have been prepared for all the 30 districts of the State, in-principle sanction should be communicated by Government of India for all of them. The Union Power Minister informed the CM, Orissa that the matter will be placed before the Union Cabinet and that it may be possible to sanction projects for the entire State within the next 2 to 3 months.

It may be recalled that the State has launched the Biju Gram Jyoti Programme of Village Electrification from its own funds because of the inordinate delay in sanctioning projects under RGGVY by Government of India. The State Cabinet has cleared the proposal and it will be extended to those villages and habitations which cannot be covered by the RGGVY under their norms.

Discussions were also held regarding setting up of an Ultra Mega Power Plant within the State of Orissa by Government of India. The Union Power Minister requested the CM, Orissa to facilitate all clearances so that the project can be launched in the State of Orissa. The CM, Orissa assured the Union Power Minister that all facilities will be provided to the project soon. He further impressed upon the Government of India that the project should adopt the R&R Policy which has been announced by the Government of Orissa for the various industrial projects coming up within the State. The Union Power Minister agreed to adopt the State?s R&R Policy which is one of the best in the country.

Biju Grama Jyoti Yojana: each block to get 1 crore

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Reports on CM’s speech on the independence day

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Following are excerpts from the Kalinga Times report.

… The Chief Minister said his government was focussing on growth of agriculture, irrigation, infrastructure development, rural roads, drinking water, and growth in the IT sector, education and healthcare. Improvement in the people’s quality of life was the main objective of his government, Patnaik observed.He said that a special package, comprising a series of schemes, had been finalised by the State government for ensuring development of agriculture.

While a target had been fixed to bring 35 per cent of cultivable area in all the 314 blocks under irrigation cover, contract farming had been introduced in several areas for the benefit of the farmers, Patnaik said.

Stating that rural development was also a priority area for his government, Patnaik said efforts were on to improve rural road connectivity and ensure availability of safe drinking water in villages. The Jaldhara scheme was being implemented to provide piped water facility to 1000 villages in the first phase.

The government had also launched new schemes such as the Biju KBK Yojana, Gopabandhu Gramin Yojana and Biju Gramjyoti Yojana for rural development.

Mentioning about the excellent performance of tribal schools in this year’s High School Certificate examination, Patnaik said that priority was being accorded to education of tribal children. A total of 1000 hostels for tribal girls were being established in the State, he added.

As regards growth in the information technology sector, the Chief Minister said Bhubaneswar was fast growing as a major IT hub in the country. Companies such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Genpact and Satyam had already started their operation and very soon many companies were going to begin BPO business, he said.

The State’s software export was likely to cross Rs 700 crore during the current financial year, the Chief Minister said.

Patnaik said the government was also taking measures for proper utilisation of the rich mineral resources for the development of the State and its people. A total of 25 steel industries had already started production, he added. …

Orissa power companies to improve infrastructure

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Following are excerpts from a New Kerala report on this.

Three power distribution companies have made a project outlay of Rs 50 crore to upgrade their infrastructure to supply quality power … to their customers.

The companies– Wesco, Nesco and Southco had submitted a detail plan of expenditure to the Electricity Regulatory Commission in this regard.

According to sources, the companies have geared up their machinery to supply uninterrupted power to high tension and extra high tension consumers.

A team comprising members from Grid Corporation of Orissa, the three distribution companies and OPTCL had been chalking out plans to provide power to upcoming industries and new consumers on demand.

A plan to reduce the transmission and distribution loss by 15 per cent was being finalised and would soon be submitted to the GRIDCO, sources said.

The companies also urged the power ministry to complete the existing projects under the Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme.

A Statesman report, gives additional context to this. Following are some excerpts.

… three private distribution companies run by Reliance Energy has finally detailed its proposed funding and achievements.

In a situation where tariff has remained stagnant over 7 years , the company has maintained the system infrastructure with minimum spending. It has provided uninterrupted power and electricity to 1500 villages. The three distribution companies- Wesco, Southco and Nesco have also been regular in paying bulk supply bills to Gridco, salaries to employees etc noted Reliance Energy.

It is important to note that the energy minister, … had expressed his dissatisfaction with the company due to their lack of investment and the litigation over payment of dues. The chief minister had directed the energy department to prepare a detailed note and call the top brass of Reliance Energy for discussions.

Apparently jolted to action, the Reliance Energy has circulated a release stating that it has taken up up-rating and upgradation of the distribution infrastructure with an immediate outlay of Rs 50 crore.

It also claimed that in view of the growing ancillary, medium and large industries that were coming up in the state, a multidisciplinary team with members from Gridco, the three distribution companies and the power trading corporation has been formed to work out a strategy for quality power supply to such units. The distribution companies are also persuading the Ministry of Power to complete the existing APDRP works while the state government has also initiated a process to obtain a sanction of Rs 800 crore for the second phase, under APDRP, for the companies.

The distribution companies are also implementing the Biju Gramin Jyoti Yojana , while also finalizing their performance targets and Action Plan that will help reduce the transmission and distribution loss to the extent of 15 per cent as envisaged earlier.

Jaldhara drinking water scheme for 1000 villages

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Following are excerpts from the New Indian Express report on this.

… The new scheme ‘Jaldhara’ would provide drinking water to 1000 villages next year. It will be funded by the State Government.

… it will be implemented through the panchayats. At least one village in each panchayat and three to five villages in each block will be covered under the scheme.

Naveen directed the Health Department to take steps to ensure drinking water provided to the villages through pipe water scheme is free from flouride and other chemicals which create health problems.

Official sources said that the State Government had taken up 1486 pipe water schemes under the swajaldhara programme funded by the Centre, of which, 963 projects have been completed. The Chief Minister directed that incomplete schemes should be completed by March next year.

… Earlier in the year, Naveen had launched the Biju KBK and the Gopabandhu Grameen Yojana to be implemented for a period of five years with a budget provision of Rs 600 crore each.

These were followed by an announcement to provide pattas to six lakh landless people. Besides, the Biju Grameen Jyoti Yojana was launched recently to supply power to habitations with a population of less than 300 people. During this financial year 1000 villages will be electrified for which a provision of Rs 100 crore has been made.

Central aid for power sector initiatives in Orissa

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Business Standard reports on this. Following are some excerpts.

The central government has offered Orissa Rs 10,000 crore for various power sector initiatives. The amount will be invested over a period of five years in rural, semi-urban and urban areas.

“The funds will be utilised for improving generation, distribution and transmission of power in Orissa,” A K Lakhina, chairman and managing director, Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), said.

Orissa has been facing difficulties in privatisation of the sector as private enterprises are unable to pursue rural electrification with vigour, he said.

He said, the Centre has utilised the services of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) and National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) for taking up rural electrification in Orissa.

While four projects have already been sanctioned for Nayagarh, Anugul ,Ganjam and Gajapati, projects in three more districts have received the Centre’s in principle approval. All the remaining districts of the state will be covered under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), he said.

There was a feeling that villages and hamlets with sub-300 populations would not be covered under RGGVY. Orissa, having many such hamlets, was apprehensive of the success of the programme in the state. Lakhina said, the Union government is aware of the issue and the limit may be reduced to cover villages and hamlets with population of 100.

It may be noted, the Orissa government had announced launching of ‘Biju Gramjyoti Yojana’ to provide electricity to the villages and rural hamlets having less than 300 population. It also made a budget allocation of Rs.50 crore during 2007-08 for this programme.

Interestingly, the Orissa government has sought assistance of about Rs. 600 crore from REC for improving transmission. REC will examine the proposal, Lakhina said.

On reducing the transmission and distribution losses, the REC chairman said he has requested Patnaik to undertake underground wiring in the state’s premier cities which could be expanded to other areas.

Rural electrification programs

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New Indian Express reports on the energy minister’s statement on this in the assembly. Following are some excerpts.

Energy Minister Surya Narayan Patro … announced in the Assembly the Government’s commitment to provide electricity to all villages and hamlets in the State by the end of Eleventh Five Year Plan.

The State Government would formulate a captive power policy (CPP) for the captive power plants, he said. … the Minister said rural electrification is being carried out by the State Government under three schemes – Minimum Needs Programme (MNP), Pradhan Mantri Gramodaya Yojana (PMGY) and Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutkaran Yojana (RGGVY).

Stating that the Government has submitted the detailed project reports (DPRs) to the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) for 30 districts, the Minister said the DPRs of Angul, Nayagarh, Ganjam, Gajapati and Jajpur districts have been approved. Besides, the DPRs of three more districts – Balasore, Bhadrak and Puri – have received in-principle approval.

The Minister said the Centre has released Rs 92.85 crore in the first phase to the NTPC and NHPC to take up rural electrification work in Angul, Nayagarh and Ganjam districts.

Referring to the Biju Gramjyoti Yojana (BGY) announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently, the Patro said under the programme hamlets with less than 300 population will be electrified. He said the Centre rejected the State Government’s request to include hamlets with less than 300 population in the RGGVY.

The State Government has set a target to provide Rs 1000 crore for the programme in the Eleventh Five Year Plan and provided Rs 50 crore in the 2007-08 financial year. Besides, the State Government has also made a provision of Rs 120 crore under the Biju KBK Yojana for providing electricity, road and drinking water to villages.

The Minister informed the House that the Government has undertaken electrification of 4,499 villages under the MNP for which the Centre has provided Rs 120 crore so far. He said by May-end, 3,736 villages have been electrified under the programme.

Stating that five special police stations have been set up to check theft of power and related crimes, the Minister said special courts have been opened to try these cases.

Patro announced that police stations and courts would be set up in the rest of the districts during the year.

Following is Samaja’s coverage on this.