|$ 300m ADB fund for power sector|
GUWAHATI, Sept 12 – Power generation in Assam is set to receive a boost with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreeing to fund its third power sector programme worth $ 300 million in the State.
Briefing newsmen here today, Dr Herath Gunatilake, Lead Energy Economist of ADB, stressed that the State government needed to be pro-active and innovative in ensuring success of the ambitious Assam Power Sector Investment Programme.
“The ADB-funded power reforms have been a huge success in Madhya Pradesh, because the government was bold and did a lot of experimentation. The Assam government, too, needs to be confident and exhibit a similar zeal, as funding is no longer the main constraint,” Dr Gunatilake said.
Unlike in the first two ADB-assisted programmes in Assam, where the thrust was on augmenting transmission and distribution, this time the focus is on generation so that the State can accelerate its pace towards attaining self-sufficiency in power.
Answering a question, Gunatilake said that he would rate the implementation of the earlier two projects – started in 2003 and 2009 respectively – as “satisfactory” but “not highly satisfactory”.
“We have managed to bring down the transmission and distribution and commercial losses to 25 per cent from 40 per cent but there is room for improvement,” he said.
On the latest project, the economist said that its components include $ 45 million for the Lakwa Replacement Power Project and $ 5 million for capacity development and consultancy services (Tranche-1), $ 50 million for distribution strengthening, and $ 120 million for the Lower Kopili Hydro Electric Project.
The ADB project also envisages tapping energy from renewable sources, such as solar, besides facilitating small and mini hydroelectric projects. It is targeting 50 MW power from solar and 250 MW from small hydel projects.