Chief minister Naveen Patnaik launches the Odisha Distribution System Strengthening Project in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. Telegraph picture
Bhubaneswar, Oct. 8: The state government has decided to pump in Rs 2,600 crore to improve Odisha’s power supply system. The state has been hit by erratic power supply over the past one year.
Launching the ambitious programme, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said: “The state will invest the money under the Odisha Distribution System Strengthening Project that aims to provide reliable power supply with improved voltage to all parts of the state.”
The Opposition termed the move as nothing more than an election gimmick.
With this money, the state will construct 500 33/11KV sub-stations. “It is almost the same number as we have set up in the past 65 years. The project will be implemented in a phased manner over three years,” said Naveen.
According to the plan, 175 substations each will be constructed in the first two phases and the balance 150 will be installed in the last phase. “The project shall cover all the 30 districts with priority focus on the rural and semi-urban areas,” he said.
In order to provide uninterrupted power supply to agriculture, the state has also planned to set up a separate dedicated feeder for agriculture and pisciculture clusters for Rs 1,000 crore.
“The work for the project will start soon,” Naveen said.
Stating that the demand for reliable power is growing rapidly on account of economic development due to rapid industrialisation and urbanisation, Naveen said: “The strengthening of the transmission system has already gained momentum during the last two to three years and around Rs 5,000 crore is being invested in construction of new grid sub-stations and transmission lines in the current five year plan.”
Later, the chief minister laid the foundation stone of two 33/11 KV sub-stations at the Institute of Mineral and Metals Technology and at Gothapatna.
Energy secretary P.K. Jena said: “The required mechanism has been developed to see that the work is completed within the stipulated timeframe. The tender for package-1 has already been floated to take up the first-phase work”
What worries the state government is whether it would be able to complete the project in time.
It has already extended the Rs 2,400 crore Capital Expenditure Programme (CAPEX), which is part of the power reforms programme of the government, by another two years. The programme will now run up to 2015-16.
However, senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra trashed today’s power show as election gimmick.