Government is extending top priority to hydropower: Virbhadra
INVC NEWS Shimla, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the state government is extending top priority for expeditious exploitation of the hydro power potential which is a very important resource for the economic development of the State. He was presiding over a seminar organized jointly by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. and the Forum of the Hydro Power Producers and other stakeholders in various river basins of the state, here today. He termed it as an imperative initiative to elaborate on the important issue of hydro power sector development and required policy changes in the hydro power policy to harness the potential of the state as early as possible. The Chief Minister said power sector is critical to the development of the economy as development in all other sectors depends largely on the availability of power. The Himachal Government is fully aware of this fact and is according top priority to the hydro power sector and it will ensure development in the remotest parts and act as a major resource for revenue of the State. He said though the hydro power sector has witnessed declining trends in past few years, there is no need for worry as every sector passes through such phases. He assured Himachal government would provide every possible assistance to give the boost to this vital sector, which is also a major source of the economy. He said Himachal Pradesh has the distinction of providing reliable and quality supply to all consumers in the State where hundred percent revenue villages were electrified long ago. Not only this, the consumers in the State enjoy one of the lowest tariffs in the country, he added. Virbhadra Singh said the priority of the government is to expeditiously harness balance potential in amanner that optimizes returns to the State. With a view to achieve this, the process of involving both the central government PSUs and the private sector in abig way in hydro power development has been initiated. He underlined that while executing hydroelectric projects there is a need to assess key issues and requirements to meet the needs of sustainability, environmentally appropriate developments as well as adaptation towards addressing vulnerabilities from climate change. The Chief Minister said to embark upon ambitious programme in the hydel generation the state government in 2006 formulated its own hydro power policy in 2006. This was formulated with a view to maintain a delicate balance to safeguard the interest of the people and tomaintain a delicate ecology and environmental safeguards. Additional Chief Secretary Shri Tarun Shridhar said the state government has set up a committee to take effective measures for revival of the hydro power sector. The government has also offered a number of incentives to facilitate the power producers. He however urged the power producers to provide support to the government for revival of this sector. Former Chairman Central Water Commission Shri A.B. Pandya in his key note address stressed that central and state governments needs to seriously look at the issues of delay in clearances which is a major concern. He said sound planning and investigation is another important aspect for starting projects besides ensuring transparency in allotment. He saida strong policy is needed which is capable of articulating the benefits of hydro power for which the concerned community should also raise voice. He added active support from public should be sought because it is the public, which will be ultimately benefited out of it. Managing Director HPPCL Shri Devesh Kumar in his introductory remarks briefed about the motive behind organizing the seminar and the steps being by the state for revival of hydropower sector. Agriculture and Power Minister Shri Sujan Singh Pathania, Dr. Srikant Baldi and Shri Tarun Kapoor were also present on the occasion.