Govt constitutes task force on hydro power development

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New Delhi, Sep 24 (UNI) The government today constituted a task force to examine and resolve all issues related to hydro power development including allocation of sites and clearances required for development of projects and environment issues and a separate sub-committee on financing issues.

The decision was taken during the first meeting of the Group of state Power Ministers constituted in pursuance of the resolution adopted at the Conference of the Chief Ministers on Power sector.

The task force will also look after rehabilitation and re-settlement issues, sharing costs and benefits of power generation, water storage, navigation and flood moderation of hydro power projects with States downstream of storage projects.

The Sub-committee on financing will make appropriate recommendation on various issues to ensure timely availability of funds for achieving the target of attaining a capacity addition of about 80,000 MW in the XI Plan.

It will submit its recommendations to the Group of Ministers within a period of three months, an official statement said.

''Power related issues are at centre stage now as the sector is the key driver of economic growth. Therefore, there is an urgent need to substantially enhance power availability at a rapid pace which is crucial for the development and prosperity of the country,'' Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.

The Sub-committee will look after various issues such as constraints of State Power Utilities and Private Sector Utilities companies in securing funds, redefining exposure limits, identifying the specific needs of transmission, sub-transmission and distribution, indicating broad policy measures and instrument for mobilising long tenure finances for meeting investment requirement of the sector and the possibility of including power funding under priority sector lending.

The Sub-committee of the Group of Ministers will consist of Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission as Chairman and Minister of Power of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh as members.

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