THE power infrastructure for urban and agricultural sectors in Punjab is all set for a complete revamp as the government today announced a comprehensive Rs 2,000-crore plan to streamline supply and distribution arteries.
A decision to this effect was taken at a high level meeting chaired by Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal here. Under this plan, 301 new sub-stations of different capacities would be set up. These include 13 of 220 KV, three of 132 KV, 188 of 66 KV and seven of 33/66 KV sub-stations. In addition, 47 existing sub-stations would be upgraded. Of these, nine sub stations of capacity of 132 KV to be upgraded to 220 KV, 11 of 66 KV capacity to be upgraded to 220 KV and 27 existing sub-stations with capacity 33 KV to be upgraded to 66 KV sub-stations as per this new plan. Besides, augmentation work of 280 sub-stations would also be carried out.
Apart from setting up new sub-stations and upgrading the existing units, more than 12,000-circuit km distribution lines across the state would also witness a complete modernisation.
According to the new plan, Rs 203 crore would be devoted entirely for the upgrade and strengthening of power infrastructure in border areas. With a view to providing better and quality power supply in the state the new plan would be implemented in a given time frame so as to avoid additional stress on the distribution lines from the ever increasing demand. Special care is being taken that much of the new infrastructure is in place before the peek demand period next year and positively before the paddy sowing season.
The meeting was attended among others by Media Advisor to Chief Minister Harcharan Bains, Chief Secretary RI Singh, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister DS Guru, Principal Secretary Finance DS Kalha and Secretary Power Suresh Kumar.
7 sugar mills to co-produce power
Madhvi Sally CHANDIGARH
SUGAR mills in the cooperative sector in Punjab have at last realised that co-generation of power would be the only solution to bail them out of the whopping Rs 437-crore losses (as on March 31).
Soon seven operational sugar mills out of the 15 sugar mills in the state (out of which 9 mills are running and 6 mills are under liquidation) with a 15,766 tonnage crushing capacity would have bagasse-based co-generation plants. The plants would have a proposed capacity to co-generate 84 mw and would be set up by the Punjab State Federation of Cooperative Sugar Mills Ltd (Sugarfed) with the assistance of the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA).
“An investment of around Rs 340 crore will be required, with PEDA investing close to Rs 260 crore. The rest will be generated by private sector investment and equity issue,” said Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh. Investment per mw would be Rs 4 crore, for which loan to PEDA would be given by t he Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
The seven sugar mills would include Nawanshahr, Gurdaspur, Morinda, Nakodar, Fazilka, Ajnala, Batala,Bhogpur and Budhewal. Out of these, Nakodar and Fazilka, whose individual co-generation capacity would be 8 mw each, would be under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) model.
“We have to now think beyond sugar production alone by sugar mills which is leading to huge losses. Apart from utilising the power in the sugar mills, we will enter into an agreement with the Punjab State Electricity Board to sell power at the rate of Rs 3.49 per kw,” stated Capt Singh.
Unable to recover conversion cost and not generate enough to pay salaries, Sugarfed had been dependent on the state government to bail the mills out. The nine sugar mills in the state, employing more than 5,400 workers, are in season for about 100-150 day in a year, depending on the tonnes crushed per day (sugar mills of Nawanshahr, Ajnala and Morinda which are the larger sugar mills have a capacity of 2,500 TCD).
Workers were being paid their wages and other incidental expenditure incurred by these mills during the off-season too, without the industry getting anything in return. The new move is expected to infuse fresh life into the ailing sector, according to government officials.
301 new sub-stations of different capacities would be set up
More than 12,000 circuit km distribution lines would be modernised
Rs 203 crore would be devoted entirely for the border areas