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Union Minister of Power Reviews Arunachal Pradesh’s Power Sector, Highlights Hydropower Potential and Development Initiatives

Itanagar: Manohar Lal, Union Minister of Power and Housing & Urban Affairs, chaired a crucial review meeting of Arunachal Pradesh’s power sector in Itanagar today. The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, Secretary (Power) Pankaj Agarwal from the Government of India, and Chief Secretary Dharmendra from the Government of Arunachal Pradesh.

In his address, Manohar Lal highlighted the Central Government’s ongoing efforts to foster the overall progress of the North-Eastern region. Over the past decade, the Union Government has demonstrated a keen sensitivity to the region’s needs, focusing on better connectivity, improved infrastructure, and enhanced welfare for its people. He emphasized that Arunachal Pradesh holds about 38% (approximately 50 GW) of India’s total hydropower potential, the highest among all states.

Discussions at the meeting underscored the crucial importance of Compensatory Afforestation Land availability for the early development of hydropower projects in the state. The possibility of sourcing such land from other states was also explored. Simplifying the process for sanctioning new connections and making electricity bills more consumer-friendly were additional points of focus.

Manohar Lal suggested providing consumers with options for self-meter reading every two months and enabling bill generation through a mobile app. He emphasized that a reliable supply of quality power would facilitate industrial growth, thereby creating employment opportunities within the state.

On the power distribution front, the Minister urged for the swift implementation of projects sanctioned under the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS). He also recommended various reform measures to improve the financial viability and operational efficiency of the Power Department. A target was set to elevate the consumer service rating from ‘C’ to at least ‘B’ within the year. The Minister sought the state’s cooperation in achieving these ambitious goals for the power sector.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu expressed gratitude to the Union Minister for selecting Arunachal Pradesh for his first visit post the formation of the new government. He assured that necessary measures and policy decisions would be taken to ensure the growth of the power sector in the state. He noted that infrastructure development in Arunachal Pradesh has gained momentum in recent years and sought continued support from the Central Government.

Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein pledged full support from the Power Department to Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) for various hydro projects in the state. He highlighted that with the joint efforts of the state government and CPSEs, 13 Hydroelectric Projects (HEPs) would be completed within stipulated timelines, contributing approximately Rs. 10,000 crore annually to the state’s revenue and raising the per capita income to levels seen in more developed states. He emphasized the early completion of the prestigious 2000 MW Subansiri Lower and 2800 MW Dibang Multipurpose Project.

The meeting featured detailed deliberations on the overall scenario of the power sector in Arunachal Pradesh, with a special focus on hydropower generation, power transmission, and distribution. Discussions also covered power sector reforms, measures to promote ease of living for electricity consumers, and the finalization of a resource adequacy plan to meet future demand. The State Government provided valuable inputs and suggestions throughout the discussions.

In his welcome address, Secretary (Power) Pankaj Agarwal highlighted Arunachal Pradesh’s rich hydropower potential and its pivotal role in meeting the growing demand for clean energy. During the review of the transmission sector, the “Comprehensive Scheme for Strengthening of Transmission & Distribution, Arunachal Pradesh,” being implemented by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, was discussed. Key concerns such as Right of Way (RoW) in Reserve Forest areas, operation and maintenance of completed elements, and downstream connectivity issues were addressed.

The State Government was urged to expedite the implementation of works sanctioned under the RDSS to improve the quality and reliability of electricity supply. The importance of smart metering for energy accounting and consumer empowerment through ease of payment and better control over electricity consumption was highlighted, with a commitment to complete feeder metering by December 2024.

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