World Bank approves $400 mln loan to Power Grid

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New Delhi, Oct 22 (UNI) The World Bank has approved a 400 million dollar loan to the Power Grid Corporation of India, designed to increase reliable power exchange between regions and states.

Despite a fast growing economy, India's growth potential is constrained by inadequate electricity services and limited power generation and transmission infrastructure, a World Bank statement said.

Over 40 per cent of the population is without electricity, and the cost of erratic and insufficient power supply is high for industry as well as households, it added.

The additional financing to the Fourth Power System Development Project (PSDP IV), which was approved by the World Bank on March 18 this year, will finance the completion of selected transmission schemes intended to expand transmission system and capacity.

''The power sector has improved significantly in recent years, but demand for electricity continues to outstrip supply,'' said Julia Fraser, World Bank Senior Financial Analyst.

''This project will help the Government achieve its goal of expanding power generation capacity to more than 200 gigawatts (200,000 megawatts) by 2012 through enhancing the country's power transmission capacity and enabling power to be transmitted across regions and states. It will also help reduce transmission losses and, subsequently, cut the cost of energy.'' This is the fifth direct loan the Bank has made to Power Grid since 1993.

The loan, from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), is backed by Indian government guarantee. It has a 30 year maturity which includes a 4-year grace period.

UNI MP GL BD2205

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