The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

PM pegs power as poll plank

Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh), Aug. 30: Atal Bihari Vajpayee launched the BJP’s election campaign in the state today with a warning that the power sector has to get its act together soon as demand is increasing all the time.

The Prime Minister was to unveil the BJP’s political strategy later in the day at a rally in Khandwa, near Indore. But as he lay the foundation stone for a Rs 2,200 crore 520 MW hydroelectric power station here, he hinted that the power crisis would be an election issue.

“I hope that this project will help the state reduce the power deficit to a large extent,” Vajpayee said. “I said, to a large extent, but not completely,” he clarified. Vajpayee said attention should be paid to hydro-electric power as it is a clean source of energy and will help develop backward regions. He said his government was committed to providing electricity to all villages by 2007 and every home by 2012.

Currently, the hydro-thermal mix is in the ratio 1:3. We have set a target of reducing the gap to 2:3. In the 10th and 11th Five Year Plans, we have set a target of generating an additional 34,000 MW over the existing target of 27,000-MW capacity.”

he Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation is a 51:49 joint venture company between the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation and the Madhya Pradesh government. A consortium of Jaiprakash-Voit and Siemens is to set up the Omkareshwar power station. It will be set up 40 km downstream from the Indira Sagar project in Khandwa district, across the Narmada and is expected to be completed by 2007.

Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan has threatened to launch a protest against the power project.

Bridge probe

Aman (PTI): The Centre has announced a judicial probe into the collapse of the bridge on the Damanganga, which claimed 27 lives on Thursday. It announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 to the relatives of those killed and Rs 10,000 to the injured, district collector Gyanendra Srivastav said. The Red Cross Society has also announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 to the victims’ relatives.

Tada cases

Jaipur (PTI): The Rajasthan government has dropped Tada charges against 40 people belonging to the minority community for want of proof, an official release said on Saturday. The release listed various measures taken for the welfare of the minority community.

Cola clean chit

New Delhi: A British laboratory report has virtually given a clean chit to Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Tests carried out by the Central Science Laboratory on samples collected by an Indian magazine revealed that 31 of the 35 pesticides for which they were tested were below European Union levels.

Bears rescued

Mumbai (PTI): Six sloth bears confined in violation of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, were rescued by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and sent to Sanjay Gandhi National Park.


Gopeshwar (PTI): Nearly 10,000 pilgrims were stranded at Langasu on the Badrinath-Rishikesh National Highway in Uttaranchal’s Chamoli district following landslides.

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