With a majority of the tendered solar power projects stalled due to procedural delays, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar on Tuesday instructed district administrations to clear them at the earliest. Shivakumar, who held a video conference with deputy commissioners in Bengaluru, gave strict instructions to officers not to “harass” companies that have come forward to set up solar plants.
Stressing on the fact that these projects have to take off within a year’s time, the minister reiterated that only three documents were sufficient for clearances for these projects, which were coming up on deemed lands. He said he had received complaints that the district administration was insisting on submission of 18 documents for getting clearances.
The projects undertaken under both the Central and state governments would add around 6,500 MW to the grid by 2020. By end of next year, the department hopes to generate at least 2,000 MW. A majority of the DCs said that they were granting clearances as and when they receive applications. When Belagavi deputy commissioner said that two of the projects were held up as the “district-in charge minister wanted to hold discussions” about the same, Shivakumar said, “No one should interfere – you have to take up the project. You can’t sit and wait for some politician to give you permission for the projects, including the district in-charge minister.”
He was also irked when the Koppal deputy commissioner told him that land conversion of deemed land had taken over eight months. “It should not have taken more than 15 days,” he shot back at the officer. When officials from Tumakuru said that villagers were refusing to part with their lands in Pavagad for installation of four transmission poles, Shivakumar said that a major international project (90 MW) was being stalled because of this. Taking officials to task, he said the department was losing Rs 30 lakh a day because of this delay. He said the farmers were creating problems as they were demanding more compensation.
The minister said that the department had returned 1,500 MW of power to the Central grid as the demand had reduced with the onset of monsoon. He said that currently, the demand stood at 7,000 MW. According to officials, the department had earlier placed an order for 1,000 MW at Rs 4.36 per unit. However, as the demand had reduced, the department would take a final call on whether to purchase the power shortly.