|Illustration: Power Plant|
Rajouri: Electricity supply is crucial to the industry here and for the overall development of the place. India is desperate for power, and coal is expected to remain at the heart of its energy security for decades. Seventy million households – up to 40 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion people – have no access to electricity.
Junior Engineer Javed Iqbal, said that the power station aims at providing uninterrupted power supply. “Due to rain, dust storm or any other natural calamity, there used to be power interruption in the areas. But now under our centrally sponsored scheme, power station in Gambhir is commissioned and has been set up,” said Iqbal.
The plant, which was set up in June this year, is benefiting the people immensely. A resident, Ratan Lal, added that lack of electricity impacted the industry work earlier. Factories making essential commodities important for people’s survival, such as flour mills, were also not functional here and residents would go to the mills located at far flung places.
“This is border area and there was no electricity supply here earlier. The new station here is providing electricity to Gambhir, Thandi Kasi, Panjgrain, among others. People here are benefiting ever since it has been set up,” said Lal.
No line men from city ever visited the area to fix the electricity poles. People are now getting an opportunity to start their own work, which has generated employment opportunities for many. The new power station is boosting the number of small scale industries, such as flour mills, set up by people for self-employment.
India’s power generation has grown – the peak deficit is down to 5.4 percent from 16.6 percent in 2008, government data shows – but getting the supply to end consumers is far trickier.
Regional politicians tell distributors to prioritise supply to favoured constituents, while popular pressure for cheap or free power has kept theft high and prices artificially low, straining utilities’ finances and curbing new investment.
In 2012-13, India’s power system was able to supply a peak of just 124,000 megawatts for a country of more than 1.2 billion people.
Generation is dominated by old and inefficient coal-fired units that belch soot, toxic pollutants and carbon dioxide. Coal accounts for 60 percent of India’s installed generation capacity with some hydro (16 percent) and renewables (13 percent) as well as smaller amounts of natural gas and nuclear.