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NE power ministers call for gas price cut
Agartala, May 8 (IANS):
Published on 9 May. 2011 12:34 AM IST
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The power-starved northeastern States have urged the Central government to reduce the prices of natural gas being used in various power projects of the region, a Tripura minister said on Saturday.
The power ministers of the eight northeastern states under the aegis of North Eastern Regional Power Committee (NERPC) met in Kolkata Thursday and Friday and decided to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, union Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Petroleum and Natural Gas minister S. Jaipal Reddy in New Delhi soon.
“The northeast power ministers would ask the central leaders that unless the government reduces the gas price, the people of the region would be burdened with heavy electricity tariff,” Tripura Power and Transport Minister Manik Dey told IANS by phone from Kolkata.
“Over 48 percent of the total electricity is generated from the gas-based thermal power projects in the northeastern region,” he said.
According to Dey, the petroleum and natural gas ministry had hiked the price of natural gas by 117 percent from Rs.2, 112 per 1,000 standard cubic metre (SCM).
“The 117 percent hike of natural gas would raise the power tariff automatically, causing huge inconvenience to the consumers,” Dey said.
The memorandum to be submitted by the NERPC to the central ministers would highlight that the growth of power sector in the region is already constrained because of severe transmission and distribution bottlenecks and inadequate infrastructure.
Headed by Meghalaya Power Minister A.T. Mondal, the NERPC would also ask the central government and state owned power companies to improve and extend the power transmission lines across the region and in between the region and the rest of the country.
Dey said: “Currently the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has been unilaterally taking various decisions, including raising of tariff of power being generated by the various power companies. They should take into account the opinion of the governments of the region.”
“A transmission linkage through Bangladesh also needs to be explored for evacuation of electricity from the 726 MW Palatana power project, being commissioned by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC),” the minister said, referring the deliberations of the two-day meeting of the NERPC.
Power generation would expected to start from the first unit (363 MW) of the power project, biggest ever thermal power plant in northeast India, in December this year.

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