Power Crisis Holds Up Irrigation Projects
HYDERABAD:The power crisis in the State has not only hit the rural economy badly but virtually halted the inauguration of two major irrigation projects in Mahabubnagar district.
Mini-poultry, dairy, carpentry, welding units and a variety of other petty businesses became immediate casualties of the unprecedented power cut of more than 12 hours a day in villages and towns. It has also rendered irrelevant the use of essential gadgets such as fridges, fans, mixers and other electronic products to rural people. Panchayat offices and primary health centres grope in darkness at noon.
During nights also
While the situation has been equally bad for the past few years, the crisis has turned so acute that supply is being stopped during nights too between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. at most villages in districts such as Guntur, Mahabubnagar and Anantapur.
Internet connectivity, the gateway to the whole world, is totally unavailable in these areas. Students from these areas are forced to go to nearby cities just to download and forward applications online. An Information Technology Department official, speaking to this correspondent, regretted that most of the IT-enabled services introduced by the government with much fanfare remain unavailable in villages. Rajiv Internet Village is extinct while Mee Seva counters opened at some mandal headquarters recently, were often found shut.
Optic fibre network
As there was little possibility of Andhra Pradesh coming out of the power shortage in the next few years, IT officials wonder if there would be any use of launching the Centre’s Rs.20,000-crore National Optical Fibre Network to cover 20,000 villages in Andhra Pradesh.
Due to the deepening power crisis, the inauguration of some completed giant Jalayagnam lift irrigation projects such as Kalwakurthy and Bhima in Mahabubnagar district are being kept on hold on the pretext of lack of water in reservoirs.
The installed capacity in the State is 15,300 MW with 10 per cent of this being on outage for want of gas or due to technical snags. The demand was above 300 million units (mu) a day. The utilities were meeting only 227 mu and the gap was equal to 3,000 MW.
Exhibiting deficiencies in planning, the utilities have made purchases (now 18.6 mu) and cuts (54.4 mu, including 20 mu in villages) a permanent feature of the policy.
A grim scenario is in store for Jalayagnam lift irrigation schemes too which require 8,300 MW. While the situation is so disturbing, the utilities continue to present a rosy picture, blaming other factors for shortage.