- Urges Union Minister of State for Power to provide loan worth Rs. 540 crore and Rs. 350 crore as grant
While speaking in the Conference of Power Ministers of the States through video conference from Shimla today Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur urged the Union Minister of State for Power (Independent charge) R.K. Singh to provide loan worth Rs. 540 crore to HPSEBL through PFC/REC for clearing its liabilities for the month of March, April and also provide Rs. 350 crore as grant. He also urged the Union Minister to lower the interest rate of loans being provided through REC or PFC.
While expressing gratitude to the Union Minister of State for Power for taking into consideration the liquidity problem of DISCOMs and making a decision of infuse liquidity worth Rs 90,000 crore, Chief Minister said that under this, DISCOMs would be eligible for financial assistance for liabilities of GENCOs and TRANSCOs till 31st March, 2020. He said that DISCOM and HPSEBL of the state had already made payments of all its liabilities upto March, 2020. Now liabilities worth Rs. 540 crore for the month of March and April, 2020 were pending, he added.
Chief Minister said that in order to provide relief to industrial units, economic establishments, hotels and restaurants in wake of the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, the State Government had provided relief of about Rs. 47 crore through deferment of Demand Charges and waiver. He said that the State Government also extended last date of payment of electricity bills from time to time to facilitate the consumers. He said that the power demand due to the lockdown due fell by 40 to 45 percent which resulted into loss of about Rs. 319 crore to the HPSEBL.
Jai Ram Thakur said the State Government proposes to install about 1.52 lakh smart electricity meters in Shimla and Dharamshla in near future. He said that although the Union Government has provision of providing fixed grant for special category states like Himachal, but it should be fixed as per the actual cost so as to put minimum burden on about 22 lakh consumers’ including over 20 lakh domestic consumers.
He said that the State of Himachal Pradesh was known as the power State and it produces 10500 MW Hydel power, out of the total about 45,000 MW hydro power available in the country.
Chief Minister said that last year the State Government has allocated 778 MW project to SJVNL, 499 MW project to NTPC and 520 MW project to NTPC for execution on Chenab Basin. He said that since the basin falls in tribal and far flung area, thus effective long term strategy for power evacuation was required. He said that SJVNL and State Government were also planning a 1000 MW solar power mega Park in Kaza and this would also require proper and effective mechanism for power evacuation. He said that the State Government has already written a letter in this regard to the Union Power Secretary.
Union Minister for Power R.K. Singh said that the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a big challenge to various sectors and Power sector has also been adversely affected. He said that effective steps were required to be taken to overcome the losses in power sector. He said that innovative initiatives were required to be taken in power sector.
Union Minister assured the Chief Minister that Union Government would sympathetically consider all the genuine demands of the State Government. He assured that steps would be taken to evolve a mechanism for power evacuation from the far-flung areas.
Chief Minister Uttarakhand T.S. Rawat, Deputy Chief Minister Delhi Manish Sisodia, Ministers of Power for various States participated in this conference through video conference.
Additional Chief Secretary Power Ram Subhag Singh and other officers were present on the occasion.