PM to announce power projects in border areas

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Itanagar, Jan 20: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh in the later part of this month, would announce a package to tap the potential of the small streams in border areas for generating power.

Official sources said here today that Union ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) joint secretary Gauri Singh informed this to Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu during a meeting here yesterday. A high-level team, led by Ms Singh and including MNRE Director P Saxena, arrived here yesterday after a two-day tour to Tawang district.

The state government had submitted a Rs 85 crore proposal under the Border Village Illumination Programme to the Centre for developing mini hydel power projects of 2-50 KW capacities to illuminate the border areas and far-flung inaccessible villages.

Responding to her query on the feasibility of solar lighting in the border villages, the Chief Minister clarified that due to extreme climatic conditions in those high altitude areas, the use of solar energy would be a total failure.

He added that erection of transmission lines in those areas would be cost-prohibitive and time consuming and suggested availing the services of unemployed educated engineers for the proposed work.

Mr Khandu advocated handing over of mini hydel power projects to the village panchayat for maintenance and earning revenue by selling power to the Army and other para-military forces deployed in those areas. ''Whereas the plains have dirty water sources, the state has clean sources which would supplement the use of turbines,'' he informed.

While seeking the Centre's cooperation for sustainable development, Mr Khandu said the development process had been gaining momentum and a generous attitude would accelerate it further to make Arunachal akin to Switzerland in the future.

He pointed out that poor road connectivity and other communication bottlenecks were the biggest hurdles in the state's progress.

Reiterating his pleas to the Centre to relax the population criteria for fund allocation for this land-locked state and take up schemes on cluster basis, he urged the officials to change the criteria under various central schemes considering the geographical condition of the state.

He informed that strict vigilance and monitoring of every scheme had been introduced to ensure judicious utilisation.

The team, however, assured to provide adequate funds to the state for developmental schemes, sources informed, adding that the team, accompanied by state Finance Minister Kalikho Pul, was on a visit to Anjaw, Tuting, Mechuka and Taksing today to assess the various Central schemes being implemented in the areas.


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