Monday, 30th October 2017

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State pulls up clean-energy socks

The government today approved the Bihar Policy for Promotion of New and Renewable Energy Sources - 2017 aiming to build a capacity to generate 2,969MW solar power, 244MW bio-fuel energy and 220MW hydel power in the state by 2022.

By Dev Raj in Patna
  • Published 24.05.17
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Patna, May 23: The government today approved the Bihar Policy for Promotion of New and Renewable Energy Sources - 2017 aiming to build a capacity to generate 2,969MW solar power, 244MW bio-fuel energy and 220MW hydel power in the state by 2022.

The approval came at a cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Nitish Kumar at the state secretariat. However, the date from which the new policy will come into effect is yet to be notified, and till then, the previous policy framed and implemented in 2011 will remain in vogue.

Principal cabinet secretariat secretary Brijesh Mehrotra said: "Attracting investment from the private sector, including foreign companies, in the field of solar power will be one of the aims of the policy. Various types of subsidies under the industrial investment promotion policy will be provided to entrepreneurs coming here to establish new and renewable energy facilities."

Under the new policy, the state government will strive to provide proper atmosphere to set up decentralised, grid-connected, renewable energy projects as well as to bring qualitative improvement in availability of power by providing decentralised renewable energy in agriculture, industry, commercial and domestic sectors - especially in rural areas.

Principal energy secretary Pratyaya Amrit said: "We have already signed agreements to buy 38MW solar power under 'solar purchase obligation' and 100MW through competitive bidding."

The new policy will provide cost subsidy to entrepreneurs to establish a distribution system and connect it to the nearest power substation within 10km of renewable energy project. Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) and other civil society organisations congratulated the state government to approve the new policy and added that it will help Bihar reach energy sufficiency in the next five years.

The cabinet also approved the finance department's proposal to implement e-payment under Comprehensive Treasury Management Information System to ensure direct payment of money to beneficiaries of government welfare schemes in their bank accounts, instead of relying on commercial banks for this.

Finance department secretary (resources) H.R. Srivnivas said: "The new arrangement will usher transparency in payments made to contractors, vendors, suppliers and beneficiaries. It will encourage digital payment in the state."

The cabinet approved recruitment of 100 junior engineers in the building construction department on contract basis. It also gave nod to the expenditure of Rs 175 crore as diesel subsidy and crop exigencies during the 2017-18 financial year in a situation of irregular monsoon, flood or drought arises.

The cabinet also approved an advance of Rs 252 crore from Bihar Contingency Fund for restoration of embankments, structures and barrages that were damaged in the state during the 2016 floods.

It also accepted the proposal to appoint water resources department chief engineer Indu Bhushan Kumar as technical consultant for two years. He is retiring on May 31 and his new position will be equivalent to engineer-in-chief or chief engineer in the department.

The cabinet also approved an expenditure of estimated Rs 397 crore on establishing Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Science City in Patna.