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AP to purchase power from other states: Minister

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Hyderabad, Feb 23 (UNI) Even as the Opposition in one voice today demanded in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly that the Government step up power supply to at least nine hours from seven hours to save standing crop, the Government said rabi crop would be protected by any means.

"Utilities have tied up for purchase of 300 MW for six hours at night in March at a cost of Rs 23.1 crore", said State Power Minister Mohd Ali Shabbeer while making a statement in the Assembly.

He lamented that power was being drawn unauthorisedly by tapping lines. The system could not sustain beyond an energy demand of 175 million units per day. Justifing staggered supply to shift demand to the tune of 300 MW, he said "every farmer will be able to get seven hours continuous supply".

Asserting that there was no sale of a single unit of power outside the state during both night and day time from February one, the Minister clarified that sale of power was resorted to only after fully meeting the state's needs, in periods when the power position was surplus, as was done from 2001-02.

TDP leader and former Power Minister K Subbarayadu claimed that the Government was making a saving of Rs 1400 crore in various forms including reduction of power supply by two hours to peasants and by stepping up hydel generation. He wanted the Government to provide free of cost capacitors to farmers, at an expense of Rs 62 crore.

While TRS member D Padma alleged the government was neglecting the power problems of Telangana farmers and weakening Public Sector power utilities in the region, All India Majilis-E-Ittihadul Muslimeen floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi wanted the Government to ensure that students were not affected due to power cut.

Opposing the Government's stipulation that power saving devices should be installed before March, CPI(M) floor leader N Narasimaiah cautioned it against ''falling a prey to World Bank's conditionalities like the one insisting on installation of capacitors''.

CPI member Ch Venkata Reddy urged the Minister to inform the House about the amount of power sold to other states.

UNI SM AA CH1538

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