NEW DELHI, July 3 � In a significant move aimed at improving the power scenario in Assam, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has cleared a multi-tranche loan facility of USD 300 million to help the State eliminate inefficiencies that are hurting the power consumers and the economy alike.
�More than a third of households in Assam face daily power cuts for five to six hours, many important businesses, such as the tea gardens, still aren�t connected to the grid, and in peak periods, the State has to buy up to 15 per cent of its power from independent producers at very high cost,� said Lead Energy Specialist with the ADB�s South Asia Department, Heath Gunatilake.
�By funding measures to cut load-shedding, the loan is expected to benefit over 2.7 million consumers,� Gunatilake said.
The multi-tranche loan facility, Assam Power Sector Investment Programme, will fund the generation and distribution upgrades, including the construction of a 120-MW hydropower plant in Assam.
It will also finance new energy-generating equipment at the existing plants, new distribution lines and substations, and financial management training and other support for staff of the State power companies � Assam Power Generation Corporation and Assam Power Distribution Company.
The funds are scheduled to be disbursed in three tranches with the project set to be completed by the end of 2023. The first instalment of USD 50 million is earmarked for the replacement of ageing gas turbines at the Lakwa Gas Power Plant in northern Assam. The second tranche will also be for USD 50 million and the third for USD 200 million.