Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Feb 15, 2002
Industry & Economy
Government - Policy
Power Ministry keen on more funds for APDP
Mr Eugeny S. Mishuk (left), Deputy Minister for Power, Republic of Belarus, along with Mr Suresh Prabhu (centre), Union Minister for Power, and Mr Mrinal Banerjee (right), Minister for Power, West Bengal, at the international conference and business meet on `Optimisation of exisiting capacity' in Kolkata on Thursday.
KOLKATA, Feb. 14
THE Union Power Ministry is keen on increasing the funds size of the Accelerated Power Development Programme (APDP) to Rs 5,000 crore, according to Mr Suresh Prabhu, Power Minister.
Speaking to newspersons after a business meet on renovation and modernisation (R&M) that began on Thursday, he said that of this amount, 20 per cent is proposed to be allocated for R&M schemes. The rest would go towards distribution reforms programmes.
Six countries are participating at the two-day meet, which is being held under the aegis of the Union Power Ministry and the Central Electricity Authority in association with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), Power Finance Corporation and CII.
The Ministry has sought Budgetary support from the Centre for next year's APDP, he added.
Introduced as part of the power reforms programme, APDP offers funds to participating States as grants and loans.
It is available to States signing MoUs with the Centres for the implementation of power reforms.
Under APDP, special States such as Kashmir, the North-Eastern States, Uttaranchal and the Himachal Pradesh get 90 per cent of the money as grant and the rest as loan. The others get 50 per cent as grant and the rest as loan.
Earlier, while inaugurating the meet, Mr Prabhu stressed the need for going in for R&M programmes in order to boost power availability.
He said that the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has been designated as the "single agency'' for providing technical assistance for the R&M plans of power plants.
The Minister also said that while the State Governments were free to choose their own agencies for the job, care should be taken to prevent R&M from becoming an avenue for marketing equipment only. "It is an efficiency enhancement tool.''
According to Mr Prabhu, both NTPC and BHEL had the expertise for implementing power plants, with the former having a track record of commissioning projects in the shortest possible time.
For executing the R&M projects, they could either act as consultants or implementers or both, he said.
The Government has set a target of carrying out R&M for 23,000 MW of thermal power capacity over the next two Plan periods, for which around Rs 20,000 crore would be required.
The Minister assured that there would be no dearth of funds for R&M projects, as carrying out these programmes is one of the thrust areas identified by the Centre.
"There is a challenge in it for the private sector too, and they could work alongwith NTPC."
Mr Mrinal Banerjee, West Bengal Power Minister, said that there was a shortage of agencies for carrying out R&M programmes in totality.
Mr A.K. Basu, Union Power Secretary, said that the need for R&M and life extension of power plants can be gauged from the fact that about 25 per cent of the country's total thermal capacity has completed 20 years of design life, with half of these plants operating at a PLF of 45 per cent.
With R&M, the life of these units could be stretched by at least another 15 years. The cost of R&M is also much lower than adding fresh capacity. He said that there was considerable scope of investment in this area.
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