Availability of affordable power critical for India's development: PM

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Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh), Sep 1 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Wednesday said the availability of affordable power is of critical importance for the country's development, adding that 'we must bridge the gap between the supply and demand of power if we are to achieve higher rates of economic growth on a sustained basis'.

"Therefore, we have drawn up an ambitious programme for addition of power generation capacity in the 11th and 12th five year plans. This large addition in our power generation capacity will mean a much larger demand for power equipment," said Dr Singh after laying the foundation stone of NTPC-BHEL Power Projects Private Limited's manufacturing plant at Mannavaram village in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor District today.

". I am happy that our public sector has come forward to take a lead in manufacturing power equipment in our country to help us achieve our targets in the power sector. Our two Navratna Companies - National Thermal Power Corporation and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited have joined hands to form a new company thus bringing together their vast experience and expertise," he added.

The Prime Minister further said that he was informed that an amount of nearly Rs.6000 crore will be invested over a period of five years to fully establish the NTPC-BHEL Power Projects Private Limited's manufacturing plant.

"The plant will be able to produce power equipment required for additional capacity of 5000 MW per year by 2014-15. It will provide direct employment to 6000 men and women and indirect employment to another 25000. I also appreciate the vision of state government to have a large industrial hub around this plant," said Dr Singh.

"I am sure that this manufacturing plant will go a long way in improving the economic condition of the people of this backward region. I wish it all success. I also wish the people of Andhra Pradesh and Chittoor district prosperity and happiness for the future," he added.

Expressing his delight to participate in the function, Dr Singh said it is also an occasion to pay tribute to late Chief Minister Dr. Y. S. Rajshekhar Reddy.

"This is indeed a moment of pride for all of us. But it is also an occasion to pay tribute to a very tall leader from Andhra Pradesh - Dr. Y. S. Rajshekhar Reddy. Tomorrow will be the first death anniversary of Rajshekharji," said Dr Singh.

"It was his untiring efforts that brought this project to the backward area of Chittoor district. The manufacturing plant being set up here will always remind us of the great love and affection that Rajshekharji had for the people of Andhra Pradesh and this area. It will stand testimony to the concern he felt for the welfare of his people," he added.

Dr Singh also commend the leadership of Union Heavy Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah in taking the project forward.

"The project also exemplies the importance of coordination between the Central Government and the State Governments," he added.

The BHEL-NTPC joint venture project to manufacture power plant equipment at an estimated cost of about Rs 6,000 is the first public sector investment after the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant set up in 1979.

Expected to commence production in 3 to 4 years, the project will provide direct employment to about 6000 people while over 30 thousand are to get indirect employment.

The Mannavaram project is expected to indigenizing the power generation equipment which is being largely being imported at present by the public sector including BHEL and NTPC.

The Tirupati International airport is being upgraded into an International one by constructing a new integrated terminal at a cost of about Rs 300 crore.

The State Government has allocated over 700 acres of land for the project. (ANI)

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