Govt eyes Rs 3-trn investment,reforms to light up power sector

Govt eyes Rs 3-trn investment,reforms to light up power sector

With an ambitious target to give 24X7 electricity to all, the government is eyeing Rs 3 lakh crore worth investments in power transmission and distribution business, as it gears up to free the sector from a gridlock of fuel scarcity, regulatory clogs and other issues.

Leading from the front, Power Minister Piyush Goyal is confident that the results would start showing in the new year and a right foundation has been laid to 'power up' the power sector since a new government took over in May this year.

The ray of hope for 2015 follows a year mostly marked with the drying up of investments, fuel supply bottlenecks and the gnawing transmission problems.

"We are planning investments of Rs 3 lakh crore in the T&D sector and have already started the Deen Dayal Grameen Jyoti Yojana and Integrated Power Development Scheme, with all this I think we will be able to reach the length and breadth of the country and enhance the T&D network and make sure everybody gets adequate power," Goyal told PTI.

The investment banker-turned-politician has already laid out an ambitious target of the new government to provide 24X7 power supply to all households in the country by March 2019 -- a deadline that is little over four years away now.

"We believe our steps to increase coal production are on the right track, our targets are quite doable, whether it is renewable energy, coal production or 24x7 power, we are very confident of our targets," Goyal said.

The mass cancellation of coal mines was a big 'shock' for power sector in 2014, but the sector is hopeful that this thorny issue of fuel supply has been put to rest with the launch of a transparent auction process for coal mines.

"2014 was a turbulent year for the power sector players with Supreme Court cancelling captive coal blocks, inadequate fuel supply to power plants, no long term power procurement bids on offer, plummeting short term power rates and inadequate tariff hikes because of elections," Debasish Mishra, Senior Director, Consulting, Deloitte India said.

However, Goyal differed with this observation and said that the electricity generation has grown in double-digits and coal production has also shown an upswing since he assumed office about six months ago.

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