New transmission line offers respite to power hit Assam

(Power-hungry Assam has…)
MUMBAI: Power-hungry Assam has got a lifeline as the first of the two lines of the first ultra mega transmission project has started operations.

Sterlite Grid, a part of the Vedanta group, has commissioned a double-circuit transmission line as a part of its East North Interconnection projects which aims to connect Assam, West Bengal and Bihar. Interestingly, the project was originally aimed to pump in power from hydropower projects in Assam to states like Bihar, West Bengal, and Punjab. But the transmission line is now being used to transport electricity from power surplus states to Assam, which has a shortfall of 7-10%.

"We have commissioned the 230-km Purnia-Biharsharif transmission line. This line would evacuate power from hydropower projects in Assam to other states. But currently it is being used to draw in power to Assam from power surplus states," Praveen Agarwal, director, Sterlite Technologies, told ET.

In 2010, Sterlite bagged the India's first ultra mega transmission project to construct theRs1,000 crore-transmission lines that would carry 1,000 mw of power from hydropower projects in north east to light up over 10 lakh homes in north and eastern India.

"We have invested Rs500 crore on the first line and would invest another Rs500 crore on the second line. The second transmission line has been delayed due to local disturbance. We hope the government authorities will help us to expedite the project," Agarwal, said. According to the Central Electricity Authority, India reported a power deficit of 5% in April-August, with north eastern including Assam facing deficit if almost 7%. Power Grid plans to spend Rs20,000-25,000 crore every year in transmission infrastructure.