Visa denial to Chinese citizens draws flak

It will delay important projects, says Union Power Secretary

Speaking at a seminar organised by India Power Forum on “Challenges of Mitigating Power Shortage”, he said, “such compartmentalised decision-making and stand-alone thinking” would harm national interests. Union Home Minister P  Chidambaram had recently said that Chinese workers could come to India only on employment visa. “We will issue employment visas only to highly skilled workers, and it does not apply only to Chinese workers but to those from other countries as well. We will not issue visas to unskilled and semi-skilled workers as we have plenty of them in India,” he had said.
The power secretary also flayed the private sector for its extremely poor performance in erection, procurement and construction projects.

Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the 11th Plan power capacity addition target of 78,000 MW was achievable “if we get timely supply of coal, gas and other equipment.” He said 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.”

Expressing concern over the inadequate power plant equipment manufacturing capacity in India — less than 10,000 MW — the minister said: “This is 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.”

On open access, Shinde said: “The law is very clear, and we are trying to convince the states not to create hurdles.”

The minister said in order to speed up decision-making on the import of coal for power plants, the Power Ministry would establish its own cell by December. The cell will start functioning from January 2010. “This would eliminate difficulties and the delaying tactics of importing agencies,” Shinde said, adding that he was exploring the possibility of taking Australian coal mines on lease, on which he had already held discussions with the Australian coal minister in France.

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