Power schemes get a 'power'less start during minister's brief

New Delhi: Union power minister Piyush Goyal was left red-faced on Friday after the electricity went out during a press conference in New Delhi held to highlight the country's achievements in reducing power cuts.

A video showing minister Piyush Goyal grinning sheepishly after the lights went out, leaving reporters in the dark for several seconds, quickly went viral on Indian social media.

During the press conference Goyal told reporters that India had achieved a "power surplus from chronic power shortage".

"Irony of ironies: Power cut during Power Minister Piyush Goyal's presser," Twitter user Aashna Harjani posted.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government set to mark two years in office on 26 May, several ministries have held press conferences in recent days to talk about their achievements.

Goyal quickly recovered from his initial embarrassment to joke with journalists.

"My wife tells me the power should go out once at every (press conference) that I hold so you can be sure I have miles to go before I rest and sleep," he said.

On a serious note

In a bid to make electricity available to all, the government plans to launch a scheme under which consumers can pay for the new connection in monthly installments over a period of 5 years and will be able to avail the service on demand.

"We are thinking of launching a campaign to make it compulsory to provide electricity connection to all. We want to provide this facility to everyone that if he or she asks for electricity connection then it must be provided," Goyal said.

The minister further said, "Poor people get electricity connection free of cost. But for those who are above poverty line, the amount paid for new connection will be charged through equated monthly installments in five years. We are working on such scheme and soon launch it."

Goyal also advocated cross-subsidisation of power tariff and said, "Indian farmer deserves to get low cost power. We support cross subsidisation by larger commercial or industrial establishment for other consumers."

The minister also said the government is working on a policy for reverse auction for wind power projects on the lines of solar power projects, which witness lowering of tariff to below Rs 5 per unit.

About the village electrification, the minister expressed confidence the that the target of electrifying 18,452 villages will be achieved a year ahead of the set deadline of 1 May, 2018.


Updated Date: May 20, 2016 20:33 PM

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