Power Supply Initiatives
During the last few weeks, there has been a marked improvement in the power supply scerio in Guwahati. There have been very few outages, and a stable voltage level has been maintained. Whether this marked improvement in the power supply position is confined to Guwahati alone or extends to the entire State is not yet very well known. But what is evident is an attempt on the part of the authorities concerned to do something permanent about ensuring more efficient power supply. With this end in view, the Centre, Powergrid, six north-eastern States including Assam and the World Bank signed a US $470 million loan agreement on Monday to support transmission and distribution (T&D) networks and to strengthen the capacity of State-level power utility departments in extending electricity connections to households. The agreement covers all the north-eastern States except Aruchal Pradesh and Sikkim. The agreement is significant in view of the fact that there is a realization that the existing power network infrastructure in the six participating States is old and has not been adequately maintained. This makes the network prone to high technical and non-technical losses, and frequent interruptions in power supply. The short-term remedy for this is to go on buying power from better placed States at a high cost. But it will not do to ignore the longer-term remedy, which is to increase the power generating capacities of these Northeastern States rather than having to go on buying power at very high cost. The time to initiate plans for additiol power generation (neglected in Assam for about four decades) is today.