’11th Plan target of 78,000 Mw is achievable’
The Union Power Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde has said that the 11th Plan power capacity addition target of 78,000 MW was achievable “if we get timely supply of coal, gas and equipment.” Inaugurating the 12th India Power Forum on the theme: Challenges of Mitigating Power Shortage, organized by India Energy Forum, in New Delhi he said that the Power Ministry’s reviews indicated that despite the problems of supply from coal, gas and equipment manufacturing sectors, “there is a high degree of certainty that we could still achieve over 62, 000 MW during the Plan period.” This, he added, will be almost three times of what we have achieved in any one Plan period.
Expressing concern over inadequate power plant equipment manufacturing capacity in India of less than 10, 000 MW, the Minister said, “This constituted one of the biggest hurdles in our ambitious expansion programmes. With four new joint ventures in equipment manufacturing coming up, apart from the existing Bhel in five years, the total manufacturing capacity was expected to rise to over 25,000 MW per year.”
Responding to the observations by P S Bami, president, India Energy Forum, the Minister said that in order to speed up decision making on import of coal for power plants, the Power Ministry is establishing its own Cell which will be in place by December. The Cell will start functioning from January 2010. “This would eliminate the difficulties and delaying tactics of the importing agencies,” he said, adding that he was exploring the possibility of taking Australian coal mines on lease, for which he had had a discussion with the Australian Coal Minister whom he met recently in France.
H S Brahma, Secretary, Ministry of Power, expressed concern over the issue of Chinese engineers and technicians which he said would leave in the lurch the 21,000 MW waiting to be commissioned in four States. He said that such compartmentalized decision-making and stand-alone thinking would harm the national interest. Brahma also flayed the private sector for the extremely poor response in Erection, Procurement and Construction (EPC) projects.
He further advised the India Energy Forum to involve the policy makers from States in discussions relating to the power sector so that a holistic and coordinated and unified response was made for redressing the problems confronting the sector.