The recent power cuts happened in West Bengal not due to power shortage but because of the breakdown of distribution network, state Power Minister Aroop Biswas said on Tuesday, criticising Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari over the issue.
Adhikari on Monday went to the Vidyut Bhawan along with party MLAs, and alleged that unable to meet the huge demand over the past few days, the state government managed the shortfall by shedding the load, causing long hours of power cuts amid the heat.
Reacting to the allegation, Biswas said, "We have more power than the demand, so there is no load shedding. The recent power cuts happened due to damage to the distribution network caused by natural calamities led by storms, which are not in our control. Another reason is the drawing of unpermitted power by consumers." He said several power towers that connect the substations were damaged in back-to-back storms, and it takes over 24 hours to restore them.
Biswas said the state government invested Rs 27,000 crore since 2011 in the power sector, developing generation, transmission and distribution capacities.
Fresh capacity of 1,250 mw has been created since 2011, and more projects are in the pipeline that include the enhancement of thermal, solar, and hydel capacities, he said.
Investments are being lined up to augment the total power capacity to 13,689 mw from 9,521 mw at present, he added.
Biswas said the opposition should criticise the government with facts and data.
During his visit to Vidyut Bhawan, Adhikari alleged that the "bankrupt" West Bengal was neither in a position to boost production by buying coal, nor purchase power from the national grid because it does not have funds.
"In fact, the State Govt in the past decade didn't even lift a finger to enhance the power generation capacity of WB, in accordance with the growing demand. The only kept increasing the tariff. The people of WB are paying the highest rates for electricity in the whole country, still the State Govt has failed the State when the demand of power is the highest (sic)," he alleged in a tweet.
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