Amid gloom there is hope for India- Gujarat shows the way


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Power grid failure: Amid gloom, Gujarat sets an example

Rajiv Shah & Harit Mehta, TNN | Aug 1, 2012, 01.13AM IST 

AHMEDABAD: A power surplus state with near 24-hour electricity supply not just in cities like Ahmedabad and Vadodara but in all the 18,000 villages. Now, the Gujarat government plans to further sharply increase power generation from 13,500 MW now to 18,000 MW by the end of the current year.

The Narendra Modi government was able to ensure almost 24 hour electricity supply, especially in villages, by implementing the Jyoti Gram project. Even the Government of India has accepted this as a flagship scheme for the 12th Five-Year plan (2012-17) for supplying round-the-clock, high-quality, three-phase power to all villages.

Commissioned in 2006, Jyoti Gram provides for a separate electric feeder for domestic use and a limited agricultural supply of nearly eight hours a day, continuous and of constant voltage. A recently released Planning Commission document, “Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth : An Approach to the 12th Five Year Plan”, says “the separation of agricultural feeders” in the country will enable villages to get “24 X 7 three-phased power for domestic uses, schools, hospitals and village industries”.

As for the farm pumpsets, which require more power, they can obtain “eight hours or more of quality power on a pre-announced schedule.” The document underlines, “The programme of feeder separation has to be carried through across the country. Gujarat has achieved very good results by combining feeder separation with an extensive watershed programme for groundwater recharge. Punjab, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradeshhave also moved forward in this direction. Feeder separation needs to be extended to all states, especially where groundwater is extensively used.”

The Gujarat government spent Rs 1,200 crore to implement Jyoti Gram by separating 12,000 agricultural feeders from domestic feeders. It brought down transmission and distribution losses from 35 per cent five years ago to 15-19 per cent this year.

Already a power surplus state, Gujarat sold 5,105.43 million units (MUs) to other states last year earning a profit of Rs 1,888.53crore. Last year, the state had sold 5,105 million units to states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Maharashtra. This was approximately seven per cent of total power produced in the state — 68,710 MUs. According to minister of state for power, Saurabh Patel the government sold power at Rs 8.51 per unit to Rajasthan, at Rs 7.70 per unit to Maharashtra and 9.52 per unit to Delhi. By selling these surplus power, the government was giving Rs 3,000 crore as subsidy to farmers.

With new plants planned to come up, the situation would further improve. And, Gujarat is not just planning to have more imported coal and gas based power plants, but is also negotiating with the Government of India for a second ultra mega power plant (UMPP). There has been no looking back since 2004 when the state successfully unbundled the loss-making Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB) into smaller power utilities. Smaller set-ups improved efficiency – cutting T&D losses and better plant load factor – helping the firms to make profits. 

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