The state power department has decided to conduct awareness programmes throughout the state to check power theft which has been rampant in various parts. State power minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee on Friday said that his department would not apply any force to check the menace of power theft but instead it would hold massive campaigns in both rural and urban areas to make people aware about the matter.
He was speaking at the special session on “New Perspective of Development of Power and Renewable Energy in West Bengal” organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce at its office on Friday.
“We are not in favour of applying force to crack down on the illegal tapping. This menace cannot be prevented till the people of the state do not become aware of the incident. To check the power theft, our government has taken a decision to carry out awareness drive in all the districts,” Chatterjee said.
The minister also said that most of the tapping incidents occur in the districts where awareness and sensitisation programme will be taken in large scale so that the people become aware. The power department would carry out programmes to convince the people who are involved in power theft by hooking overhead live wires in the districts.
Chatterjee said that his department would involve all the panchayats, panchayat samitis and Zilla Parishads in the district in the awareness campaign. The local representatives will go to the people who are involved in such incidents and convince them to get a connection in the household as the government is ready to provide them electricity at a lower rate.
“Cartoons and banners will be put up at various places across the state showcasing the ill effects of tapping and the people will also be convinced by our department officials and the local panchayat functionaries to get a connection. The campaign will be started before Durga Puja,” Chatterjee maintained.
He also said that his department has started the process and pictures and cartoons were already being done by his department officials in this regard. The minister also reminded that various programmes would also be conducted throughout the city as well. It may be mentioned that hooking is rampant in some places within the city which needs to be addressed. Chatterjee has assured that his department is committed to check power theft trough awareness which is the main medium to achieve the target.
It may be mentioned that two children have died in two separate incidents this week after they came in contact with the electrical wire that kept open from the electric pole.
State will not to hike power tariff up to 300 units per month: Sobhandeb
Mamata Banerjee government has decided not to hike the power tariff up to the limit of 300 units per month in domestic households. State power minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee said that the state government will not increase the power tariff despite of the pressure mounted on them by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC).
While addressing a gathering at a seminar organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce Chatterjee said that CERC had asked the state government to increase the power tariff quarterly, but the government has not increased a single paisa in its power tariff in last four years as it could impose some extra burden on the poor people in the state.
Chatterjee also said that his department will soon announce its solar policy. The state government has already given a lot of stress on the renewable energy and taken up various projects at various places in the state.
To implement the projects the state government would also seek funds from the Centre under National Clean Energy fund. The state power department would urge the Centre to get its share which will also help the debt trapped state like West Bengal, the minister maintained.
He, however, said that Centre had set a target of producing solar energy of 5,200 Megawatt for various states. The state government has been trying to increase the production of solar energy as much as possible.
It may be mentioned here that the power department has already set up solar panels at 400 schools throughout the state whereas 1,400 schools have been selected for getting a solar panel under the “Aloshree” project initiated by the state government. West Bengal is a pioneer in setting up canal bank solar PV projects in the country.
The power minister already held a meeting with the senior officials of the department to identify the office buildings on the rooftop of which solar panels would be erected. The canal bank solar photo voltaic (PV) project of 10 MW has come up at Haptiagachh in Uttar Dinajpur.
Three more solar PV projects, with a capacity of 10 MW each, will come up at Santaldih and Chhara in Purulia, and Mejia in Bankura. Power department has also taken up an elaborate scheme to set up 500 MW ultra mega solar parks in the districts of East Midnapore, West Midnapore and Bankura.
The department is also planning to set up a plant for extracting energy from solid waste in Howrah. The power minister also said that some adequate arrangements would be made before Puja.