With rural electrification entrusted to the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) not making required progress, West Bengal government is interested in taking it over.
The state government is awaiting a reply from the Centre to its letter for take over of the remaining work from REC since it "failed" to make any progress in Purulia, Murshidabad and North Dinajpur districts, Power Minister Manish Gupta told the Assembly. He said the implementation of the central Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) in the 10th Plan had also not been heart-warming in the state.
Stating that rural electrification was the topmost priority of the present government, he said even in the 11th Plan, the efforts made to promote rural electrification could hardly be appreciated. In more than three decades, even half of the population could not be provided electricity, he said, replying to the debate on the budgetary demand for grants of his department. On hike in power tariff, Gupta said the state government had no role in controlling it and also did not believe in subsidising power. The price of electricity was fixed by West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBREC) and included the cost of coal, oil, freight, salaries and wages, maintenance and operational efficiency of the concerned company, he said.
Speaking about the proposed 1600 MW thermal power project by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) at Katwa in Burdwan district, Gupta said the state government had acquired 500 acre against its requirement of 1000 acre.
NTPC would acquire the remaining 500 acre on its own to set up the power project, the minister said.
Besides, 1850 MW additional power generation was likely by 2014-15 from the 1000 MW from the Sagardighi power project, 600 MW from CESC Haldia plant and 250 MW from Durgapur, the minister said.