Bengaluru: Energy Minister D K Shivakumar has virtually set a study timetable for students preparing for examination — 6 am to 9 am and 6 pm to 10 pm — by directing the power supply companies not to cut power during these hours.
The minister, who is facing flak for the umpteen power supply disruptions in punishing summer, on Thursday recommended this study schedule to students, reassuring them that his department will try its best to provide uninterrupted power supply.
Replying to a special discussion in the Legislative Assembly on the drought situation and power shortage in the state, Shivakumar said he had directed officials of the five power supply companies that there should be no power cuts during “study hours” of students both in urban and rural areas. “We will borrow or beg power, but will not put our students to hardship,” the minister said.
He said the power supply companies have also been instructed not to cut power supply to drinking water pumping stations, even if they have outstanding dues. Shivakumar said the State was struggling to meet the power demand during the last two weeks.
“We were forced to buy power at more than the fixed tariff of Rs 5.08 per unit during the last 15 days after obtaining special permission from the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC). The situation is now improving”, he said.
Three units of Raichur Thermal Power Station with installed capacity of 210 MW each had stopped operations due to shortage of water for their cooling towers. The shortage has now been overcome by plugging leakages of water from Basavasagara dam (on Raichur-Yadgir border).
The power situation would improve further in June this year with the third unit of Ballari Thermal Power Station being commissioned and all units of Sharavathi power station becoming operational (the units were shut down following a fire accident in February this year).
The government would continue to provide thrust to solar power. Asia’s biggest Solar Park in Pavagada in Tumakuru was taking shape. The government has set itself a target of providing uninterrupted power supply, at least during the day, across the state by the year 2018.