Delays in technology tie-ups, funds constraints and natural calamities have led to a slippage even in the pruned power target of 23,250 megawatts (MW) in the five-year period ended March 2007.
Initially, the government had envisaged additional power capacity of 41,110MW in the 10th plan period, 2002-07. The Economic Survey, 2006-07, presented to Parliament in February this year, reported that the country would achieve a capacity addition of 23,250MW; it has, however, ended the year with a capacity addition of only 20,950MW, 49% short of initial estimates.
It now turns out that the capacity achieved during the 10th plan is even lower than what was added in the seventh plan (1985-90).
“We have been able to add even this capacity as some hydroelectric power projects started in the eighth plan (1990-95) have been commissioned in the 10th plan,” said a senior government official who did not want to be identified. “Projects of 8,000MW capacity may be commissioned by July,” he added.
The delays have resulted in increasing the 11th plan power generation targets from the earlier 68,870MW to 76,460MW. Of this, 57,047MW will be by way of thermal power, 16,253MW from hydroelectric power and the balance is to be generated by nuclear power projects.
On the equipment supply front, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) has come in for criticism from the power ministry and other quarters for the delays in supplying power generation equipment to projects.
This, in turn, led to knock-on delays in commissioning projects. A government working group report, submitted as an input into the preparation of the 11th Five-Year Plan for the power sector, noted that about 3,960MW could not be commissioned in the current plan period due to delays by Bhel. India currently has a power generation capacity of 1.28 lakhMW and plans to provide electricity to all by 2012.