| Chief minister Nitish Kumar, accompanied by energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav and food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak, inspect the grid sub-station at Karbighaiya on Friday. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna’s “dark spots”, that see no power for hours, can see a sea-change before the festival of lights early next month.
The state capital will have the capacity to transmit an additional 300MW of power after chief minister Nitish Kumar today inaugurated two new grid sub-stations, one in Gaurichak and the other in Karbighaiya.
At present seven grid sub-stations — at Fatuha, Khagaul, Mithapur, Gaighat, Katra Jakkanpur and Digha — supply around 415MW power to the state capital. “With the opening of these two sub-stations, Patna will get around 750MW of power. The two sub-stations are already functional and will achieve their full capacity by end of this month. The power situation of Patna will improve considerably,” H.R. Pandey, deputy general manager (PR) of the Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited, told The Telegraph.
The chief minister inaugurated four new grid sub-stations, including the two in Patna, set up at a total cost of Rs 201.94crore.
The chief minister also laid the foundation stone of a grid station at Bihta to be set up at a cost of Rs 99.65crore.
“Power is one of the focal points of the state government. Projects worth a total of around Rs 370crore saw the light of day in the form of inauguration and foundation stone-laying ceremony. The chief minister also laid the foundation stone of a power-training centre at Gaurichak in Patna and an energy park in Karbighaiya at a cost of Rs 27crore.
“Also, seven transformer repair workshops and nine power sub-stations were inaugurated in different parts of the state. The transmission and distribution network needs to be strengthened and these projects will play a major role in the same,” state energy minister Bijendra Yadav said.
He further said: “With Rs 9,200crore sanctioned by the state government for just the power sector, many more projects are lined up for the future. These will change the face of Bihar vis-à-vis electricity. The state will produce over 4,000MW of electricity by 2015. In 2005, there were just 51 grid substations in the state with the number now up to 85. Power supply is up from the earlier 750MW to 3,100MW.”
Sources said with thermal power stations coming up at Kajra in Lakhisarai and Pirpainti in Bhagalpur, the state government was on the lookout for tie-ups with big power generation companies. “This January, the state government signed an MoU with the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) for setting up a new greenfield thermal power station near Chausa in Buxar. With similar projects coming up at Kajra and Pirpainti, the state government is looking for big power companies to tie up with,” an energy department official told The Telegraph.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the chief minister asked people to be patient.
“I have already said that no votes will be asked for by me if the power scenario does not see improvement by 2015. But then, work in the power sector takes time and people should be patient,” Nitish said. People should pay electricity bills, he said.
“Power subsidies to farmers, weavers etc will be paid for by the state government. But people should not shirk from paying their power bills. With a training centre opening at Gaurichak (for would-be electricians), locals will be trained and given licence for their job. The engineers and officials of the department should work closely and there shouldn’t be any friction. Engineers should be respected for their work. For proper power supply, 220KV high tension line is being extended from Bihta to Chhapra to Bhagalpur and Katihar,” Nitish said.
Sources pointed out the department was bringing in new technology too. “Soon, there will be a system under which any fault between two electric poles will be detected automatically,” an official said.
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