With a wide gamut of issues concerning the power, renewable energy, coal and mines sector on the agenda of the state power minister’s meet, there is a strong possibility that the bi-annual state power minister’s conference is now held thrice a year.
Union power minister Piyush Goyal, also in-charge of Coal, RE and mines ministry while expressing satisfaction over the pace of discussions that took place at the 5th, two-day state power minister’s meet at Vadodara in Gujarat and indicated the possibility of conducting this meet thrice a year due to the number of issues that came up during the marathon discussion with the states during this meet.
“This meet is no longer limited to just discussing the power issues but has extended to include renewable energy, coal and the mines sector..all state ministers of these respective sectors came up with various issues on which we had fruitful discussions.”
The fifth conference in the past 17 months was attended by Ministers and senior Officials from the 20 participating States and 2 Union Territories, Secretaries and officers of the Union Ministries of Power, Coal, New& Renewable Energy and Mines, along with the Chairpersons of Central and State PSUs.
Goyal further announced that the next two State Power Ministers’ Conferences would be held in Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and subsequently in Rajgir (Bihar).
During this 5th state power ministers meet, it is for the first time step that the host state (Gujarat) co-chairedthe conference. The Minister for Power, Government of Gujarat, Chimanbhai Dharamshibhai Shapariya presided over the conference as the co-chair.
“This platform of State Ministers and their officers is to deliberate and work collectively towards achieving sustainable growth of each citizen and become the fulcrum of growth and prosperity of the Nation as a whole,” Goyal added.
The Minister gave the motto, ‘Together We Can’ and asked States to look beyond individual State and departmental issues and keep a National perspective in solving the challenges faced by the common man. “Improvement is best change that is possible”, the Minister said.
The Minister delved into various issues of the Ministries of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines and the challenges faced at State level along with the collective solutions that can be worked out through cohesive working between the centre and the States. He also laid great stress on the importance of transparency, accountability and the use of modern technology in achieving an efficient working profile in these sectors.
Goyal, while acknowledging a positive response from the States in various policies and programmes of the Union Government, said, “I am greatly satisfied with the encouraging response from the States. We are not here to give out doles to States, rather the Union Government encourages states to become efficient in their functioning, more transparent and self reforming so as to work for the wider interests of the society and achieve the goal of 24×7 Affordable Power for All.”
The Minister pointed out elementary challenges that affect the efficient functioning of the renewable energy sector at the State level. These include State Governments not signing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with the power suppliers, not paying for purchased power in time, not implementing the ‘Must Run Status’ for the power plants and non-compliance of renewable purchase obligation (RPO) strictly by all the States.
The Minister observed that without addressing these basic issues at the earliest, the country’s power scene would not be able to meet the high standards set by this Government.
The focus areas of discussions held during the two-day conference will cover issues like implementation of Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), 24×7 Power for All, Feeder monitoring, IT enablement of urban & rural feeders, Rural Electrification Programme, Energy conservation, Right of Way (RoW) compensation for transmission lines in urban areas, National Power Demand & National Electricity Plan, issues related to open access &captive generation, energy/peak shortage and increase in transparency by introduction of Mobile Apps.