Punjab to get power relief around Diwali

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New Delhi, Aug 6 (UNI) Consumers in Punjab, reeling under acute power shortage this summer, will get some relief around Diwali when two 250 megawatt units will be commercially commissioned at Lehra Mohabbat by October-end, Union Power Minister Jairam Ramesh said here today.

The Minister, who reviewed the project at Guru Hargobind thermal plant last week, today held the state-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) responsible for the 15-month "inexcusable" delay in operationalising the project.

"The delay has contributed to substantial power shortages that Punjab is facing, "he added.

BHEL, which is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the Punjab project, also holds the same position in respect of power projects at Amarkantak (MP), Chandrapura (Jharkhand) and Bellary (Karnataka) and all these projects, too, are running behind schedule, the Power Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry called for changes in rules, regulations and procedures to make public sector companies like BHEL function effectively.

Mr Jairam Ramesh assured Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) that the Prime Minister's commitment to supply 1,500 MW to Punjab from the proposed 4,000 MW project of NTPC at Lara in Chhattisgarh will be fulfilled.

On opposition to unbundling of the PSEB by its Engineers Association, the Minister said like most other states Punjab, too, would benefit from separation of its generation, transmission and distribution arms, followed by corporatisation as required under Electricity Act 2003.

Tamil Nadu, which had been resisting unbundling, has also decided to separate transmission from generation, the Minister added.

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