World Bank keen to invest in Bihar's power sector

Friday, 29 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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The World Bank is keen to invest in Bihar's power sector and improve the poor energy scenario in the eastern Indian state.

PATNA: A senior energy department official Wednesday said that during its visit to Bihar this week, the Bank had shown keen interest to invest in the power sector.

"A team of World Bank officials made proposals for investment in the sector to improve the power scenario," the official told IANS.

Bihar energy secretary K.C. Mishra said the state government would study the proposals for the power sector.

The Bank team assured help in speeding up reforms in generation, transmission and distribution of power in the state.

Its proposed investments are being seen here as a golden opportunity to improve Bihar's dismal power scenario.

Electricity generation, transmission and distribution are very poor in power-starved Bihar. Bihar's power generation capacity is 80 MW from its two power units -- Barauni Thermal Power Station and Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station.

The state, which consumes over 700 MW daily, completely depends on supply from the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for power distribution.

Only about 50 percent of Bihar's 38,475 villages are electrified, though it does not necessarily mean they receive power.

The national average of village electrification is 84 percent.

A senior government official said the power scenario is bleak in the state. The Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) is losing 25 million every day and the government's financial position is not sound to help it any more, he said.

Bihar has yet to take concrete steps for the much-awaited trifurcation of the BSEB in view of a memorandum of understanding signed by it and the union government last year to bring about power sector reforms.

During her review meeting of the energy department last week, Chief Minister Rabri Devi said the process of BSEB trifurcation should be completed soon.

Bihar hoped to restructure the BSEB by August. This was postponed to October and the new target has been set for the yearend.

But the process to restructure the BSEB is yet to begin. The powerful BSEB workers and engineers unions have warned the government against starting a reforms process.
Source: IANS

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