‘750 MW solar power projects in Andhra waiting clearance’

Hyderabad, March 26 (IANS) Notwithstanding the claims by Andhra Pradesh government that it is taking all steps including promoting solar power to overcome the electricity shortage, 750 MW solar power projects are stranded in the state for want of clearances, said a leading industry body.

The Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FAPCCI) said following the solar power policy announced by the state government in September last year, applications for setting up 750 MW of solar power projects were submitted and many more were in the pipeline.
The industry, which is bearing the brunt of the crisis with 40 to 60 percent power cuts, hailed the policy as solar power has the potential to add 1,000 to 2,000 MW generation capacity in six months.
The industry body, however, said the policy did not envisage any investment subsidy from the government or the Andhra Pradesh Transmission Corporation (APTRANSCO) or Andhra Pradesh Distribution Companies (APDISCOMS).
“While the public and legislators are agitated on one hand at the continuing power shortage, on the other hand the APERC (Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission), TRANSCO and DISCOMS seem to remain unconcerned of the gravity of the problem,” said FACCI secretary general M. V. Rajeshwara Rao in a statement.
Meanwhile, another industry body, Federation of Andhra Pradesh Small Industries Association (FAPSIA) has voiced concern over closure of small industries due to electricity shortage.
Some industry associations are backing the ongoing indefinite hunger strike by leaders of 10 Left parties in Hyderabad to protest the proposed hike in electricity tariff and the electricity shortage.
The electricity crisis dominated the assembly for the second consecutive day with the entire opposition taking the Congress government to task for not only failing to find a solution to the shortage but also burdening the people by imposing power surcharge and proposing steep hike in the tariff.
The government attributed the crisis to unprecedented hike in the demand and lack of gas supply to gas-based power projects from KG basin and scanty rainfall during the monsoon.
Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy told the assembly that the government is taking all steps including short-term purchases of 1,200 MW.
Claiming that the there are no reports of crops withering away due to electricity shortage, the chief minister assured that daily seven hour free supply to farmers would continue.
The authorities have already imposed daily three hour power cut in cities, four to six hours in towns and up to 12 hours in villages to deal with the crisis, which has deepened with the onset of summer. The daily gap between the demand and supply has touched a whopping 3,000 MW.