K'taka Govt slams Union power ministry for 'diverting' power to AP

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Bangalore, July 18 (UNI) The BJP Government in Karnataka, running out of ideas to come in terms with the power crisis gripping the state, today came down heavily on the Power Ministry for 'diverting' 100 MW of its quota from the Central grid to the Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh.

Speaking to reporters here, State Power Minister K S Eshwarappa wondered how the Centre could allocate power meant for the State to its neighbour.

''The Union Power Ministry had yesterday decided to allocate 100 MW from the 150 MW of unallocated power meant for Karnataka. This comes in the wake of our Chief Minister writing a letter to the Ministry just a few days ago seeking an additional 3000 MW of power from the Central grid to tide over the severe shortage,'' he said.

The minister said the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Power, which met today, decided to send a delegation, headed by him, to Delhi to seek additional power allocation. ''We are likely to meet the power minister and officials on July 23,'' he said.

Karnataka is reeling under a power crisis due to depleting levels in hydel project sites following deficit rainfall this monsoon. Unscheduled load shedding has been resorted to throughout the State, including the state capital.

According to a KPTCL official, today's electricity demand was at 115 million units, while the total power produced was only 104 units. The demand had shot up to 135 MUu early this month.

Mr Eshwarappa said the water level in main hydel projects would last a maximum of three weeks. All efforts were being made to take the thermal power production to the maximum. ''If it doesn't rain in the coming days, we will be in trouble,'' he said.

The state generated more than half of its power needs through hydel sources.

Meanwhile, the minister met Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who is in the city on a brief stay at a private nature cure centre, and sought 500 MW of power from the power-rich state.

''We have also placed the same request with the Orissa Government. We want to tide over this problem. Money will not be a problem to pay for power purchase,'' Mr Eshwarappa said.

The state Government was in talks with everyone who could produce power. This included biomass, wind energy, mini hydel projects and co-generators. The Government will focus on renewable energy and the state has a potential to produce 1,000 MW of power from this source, the Minister added.

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