GUWAHATI, Aug 11 - Power Minister Rakibul Hussain accepted, in principle, a suggestion made by the Bidyut Grahak Mancha, Guwahati to set up small gas-based power stations at strategic points of the State�s gas fields as well as micro and pico hydel projects in the Sixth Schedule areas of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong districts. The minister was holding a meeting with a Mancha delegation at his office chamber�s conference room here on August 10 on the issues concerning the power sector of the State.
According to a press release issued by the Mancha, at the meeting, attended also by the Additional Chief Secretary VB Pyarelal, Chairman of the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL), Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd (APGCL) and Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Ltd (AEGCL) KV Eapen and the Managing Director of APDCL RL Barua, besides other officials of power utilities, the minister asked the power utilities� officials to lay special emphasis on setting up small power generation stations in the State.
The Mancha placed before the minister and the power utilities� officials the analysis it has made on the performance of the State�s power sector and the conclusions it had arrived at with the help of this analysis and the suggestions it had made for the improvement of the performance of the power sector. The analysis was based on the past three years� annual accounts of the power utilities.
The Mancha demanded steps to tackle the financial sickness of the power utilities and to evolve an appropriate strategy for bailing them out of such sickness. It also initiated a discussion on the adverse impacts of the 2003 Electricity Act on the power sector in terms of tariff hike and sustainability. The points raised by the Mancha in this connection were accepted by the government officials.
The Mancha was emphatic in its assertion that the own production capacity of the APGCL needs to be enhanced to resolve the power crisis and to ensure economic viability of Assam�s power sector.
The minister assured the delegation that the government would ensure no tariff hike for at least one year. The Mancha appreciated the good gesture of the Power Minister. At the same time, it was suggested that the economic sustainability of the power utilities, keeping the interest of the progenies in mind, should be a top priority for the government.
The Chairman of the power utilities opined, in course of discussion, that the tariff granted by the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC) is always less than the actual generation cost of power. However, he accepted the Mancha�s view that the issue of power tariff should be treated as a social issue, not as a commercial one.
The minister asked the officials to study the Mancha analysis and to make their views known on the issues raised by the Mancha. He also asked the officials to take immediate measures for gas, hydel and renewable source-based power generation, as suggested by the Mancha.
The Bidyut Grahak Mancha delegation was represented by its president Benudhar Barooah, general secretary Subodh Sarma, technical advisor Dilip Sarma, joint secretary Masaddar Hussain and treasurer Kamal Krishna Das, the press release said.