Power dept eyes loan from World Bank
Buoyed by Asian Development Bank’s second tranche of $ 200 million to revamp the power scenario in the state, the power department has started negotiating with World Bank for more financial assistance. “Negotiations with the World Bank for a $ 400 million loan have reached an advanced stage,” power minister Pradyut Bordoloi told the third Eastern Region Summit of Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA) here on Friday. “We have successfully utilized the amount that we took from the Asian Development Bank in reforming the power sector in the state. So, the bank has come forward with it second tranche of 200 million. Now, we are very close in clinching the 400 million loan from the World Bank,” Bordoloi said. With the state power sector set to go for major improvement in days to come, the power minister has appealed to the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA) to play a proactive role by bringing in cost-effective technologies and boost power generation in the northeast. IEEMA is the representative national organisation of manufacturers of electrical, professional electronics and allied equipment having over 550 members. The first phase of reforms in the state power sector began since 2001. Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) chairman S C Das said a perspective plan envisaged an investment of Rs 3,000 crore for transmission and Rs 1,600 crore for distribution in the next few years. The power scenario is set for improvement within five years with a number of power projects coming up in the northeast. “The 750 MW thermal power project in Bongaigaon, the gas-based project at Palatana in Tripura, the 1,200 MW Subansiri hydel project in Arunachal Pradesh, the 500 MW coal-based project in Margherita and the 150 MW hydro-project in Karbi Anglong will significantly contribute to the state’s power scenario,” the ASEB chairman said. “The peak power demand has increased from 550 MW in 2001 to about 1,100 MW at present. If we take the suppressed demand into consideration, then it will range between 1,300 MW and 1,400 MW. Our consumer base is also set to increase from 18 lakh at present to about 30 lakh by March 2012. This can be possible by providing BPL families greater access to electricity,” Das added. IEEMA president Vimal Mahendru said their Northeast Vision 2020 “calls for healthy investment in the power sector because of the region’s immense hydro-power potentiality”.
“Since the power sector reforms began, ASEB has been able to pay all outstanding. Today, we have no liabilities. Even our aggregate transmission and cost loss of power have been brought down to 30 per cent from 45 per cent,” Das said.