STAFF REPORTER GUWAHATI, July 11 - Non-committal on meeting the Central government’s target of providing 24x7 ‘power for all’ by March, 2019, State’s Power Minister Topon Gogoi today said Assam is faced with a number of challenges which need to be addressed first.
“While we cannot brush aside the Central government's target, we must also admit that the State has a number of challenges which need to be addressed first,” Gogoi said referring to the infrastructure bottlenecks in the State.
Addressing reporters after an interactive session with field officers of the department, Gogoi said the APDCL has chalked out a plan to replace all bamboo and wooden electric poles with concrete ones for which Rs 25 crore has been earmarked. “The government has already released Rs 12 crore. In the first phase, we plan to replace some 40,000 such poles and complete the entire work in about one and half years’ time,” he said.
Under the Saubhayga scheme, the State plans to achieve the target of electrifying all households in the State by December this year. Of the 64 lakh households in the State, around 23 lakh, mostly in tea gardens areas and villages, are still without electricity.
Under the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), works amounting to Rs 633.92 crore have been awarded in 88 towns, which includes installation of HT lines, setting up and upgrading sub stations.
Gogoi said 52 lakh households would be given two LED bulbs under a new scheme. Besides, the power department is also planning to fix a dress code for APDCL workers.
In a new initiative aimed at providing livelihood opportunities to the State’s youth, the government will award different projects of the power department to them.
“The youths willing to work for us can register themselves in the next two months. The criteria will be published shortly. There will be different categories of work ranging from Rs 5 lakh to over Rs 10 crore. The registration fee – which will vary from Rs 5,000 to Rs 30,000 - will be different for different categories,” Gogoi said.
The Power Minister also said foundation stone for the 120 MW Lower Kopili project is likely to be laid in January. Moreover, the APDCL will initiate a pilot project to install prepaid meters in four towns of the State soon.
He also informed that the power department would recruit 3,500 permanent staff very soon.
The APDCL is targeting a revenue of Rs 6,500 crore this fiscal.