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Nitish power pledge in self-sustain mode

Patna, Dec. 7: The year, 2014, promises to bridge the mismatch between demand and supply of power for the first time since Independence.

For a start, the state, after eight years of Nitish Kumar’s rule, could wipe out the stigma of having zero thermal power generation after it resumed its own 110MW power plant at Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station on November 17. The state may draw an additional 1,800MW from its own sources in 2014 alone.

The state may take power from its own or joint venture generation plants and allocation from central sector plants next year.

“Right now, we are supplying 2,300MW of power to the state and would add around 1,800-2,000MW next year. Thus, we would have a power supply of 4,000-4,300MW against the peak demand of 3,500-3,700MW next year. The situation would further improve by end-2015,” energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar, has made the energy sector his topmost priority after taking over Bihar’s reins for the second time in November 2010. He had promised people that he would not seek votes in the next Assembly elections in October-November 2015, if he fails to improve the power supply situation in the state.

Nitish’s promise is based on his government’s sustained efforts to pull the state out of a morass by securing energy requirement of the state, a key infrastructure component, which may spur industrialisation and irrigation facilities, and might even prove to be a game-changer for him in the next Assembly polls.

The schedule for completion of ongoing power projects in the state suggests so. Going by the schedule, the state would receive around 1,800MW, including 450MW of power bought from Essar Power, apart from the current allocation of 2,000MW from the central sector.

Protest threat

The Power Engineering Service Association (Pesa) on Saturday threatened that it would be forced to take the path of protest if the Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd does not heed its demands.

Pesa general secretary Ashwini Kumar said they are opposing the appointment of franchisee system, appointment of engineers through lateral entry and betrayal of the agreement between the government and the power unions according to which no coercive action would be taken against power staff who protested on September 13.