New Delhi, May 7 (UNI) The Lok Sabha today passed the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2005, providing for stern action against those found pilfering electricity, by voice vote.
In his reply, Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that the bill gives wide power to act against all those who were found to be regular violators of the act.
''Under the new provision, anyone found guilty on more than two occasions will not be given a fresh electricity connection in the next six months,'' he said.
At the same time, this act will also help the Goverment to electrify all the villages in the country by 2009, Mr Shinde added.
Refering to some members' suggestions that officials who would be found guilty in the pilferage and theft of power should also be punished, the Minister said the bill has already taken adequate measures for all such eventualities.
Noting that the country faced a shortfall of electricity generation to the extent of 14,000 megawatts of power, he said that in order to overcome it, they had generate an additional 21,000 MW of power. The bill made provisions for the creation of additional power capacity build up to the extent of 78,000 MW.
''If we could prevent this power loss, we could save over Rs 20,000 crore per year,'' he said.
The Minister said that the Government, in order to encourage the generation of power, has gone to the extent of allowing the entreprenuers to procure LNG on spot market rates for power generation.
''There is ample scope for generating around 1.30 Lakh MW of power from the Himalayan region by setting up of mini and small hydel power plants and efforts are on that direction,'' he said.
Responding to number of questions, Mr Shinde said the Delhi Goverment was able to save around Rs 12,000 crore annually on subsidies from the subsidy burden.
''Whenever any new system comes in place of another, there is a phase when problems are faced... however, now that phase is over,'' he noted.