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  Bihar CM Nitish Kumar Pitches for ‘One Nation, One Rate’ Policy for Electricity

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday pitched for ‘one nation, one rate’ policy in the power sector across the country.

Addressing the sixth governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog through videoconferencing, Nitish said, “The rate of electricity supplied from different power plants of the central government varies in different states. Bihar also gets electricity from the central government’s power plants at a higher rate compared to other states. There should be a policy of ‘one nation, one rate.”

“Bihar has to spend a huge amount as subsidy to electricity users. A uniform electricity rate across the country will be much better,” Nitish said at the meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi and attended by the chief ministers of different states.

He said the state government spends more than Rs5,000 crore as subsidy to electricity users every year.

Nitish further said Bihar has achieved several milestones in the power sector. The state government provided electricity connection to each household across the state in October, 2018. “When we got an opportunity to serve the people of Bihar in 2005, the electricity consumption in the state was just 700MW. As per the figure of June 2020, the electricity consumption in the state has gone up to 5,932MW,” he said.

Backing the three farm laws against which thousands of farmers have been agitating on Delhi borders, Nitish said the laws were in the interest of farmers.

“We abolished the APMC Act in Bihar way back in 2006. Earlier, farmers faced difficulties in selling their produce. After we abolished the APMC Act, there is no difficulty for the farmers in selling their produce,” Nitish said.

The CM also said it was his government which started procurement. “The state procured 20 lakh metric tonnes of paddy last year and around 32.89 lakh metric tonnes till February 19 this year,” he said.

Nitish also demanded a provision that the deposited money in a state should be spent for its own use and industrialization. “Bihar’s CD ratio is very low at 36.1%. People deposited Rs3.75 lakh crore in Bihar, but the banks extended loans up to only Rs1.35 lakh crore. The rest of the money deposited by Bihar was distributed as loan in other developed states,” Nitish rued.

He praised the Narendra Modi government for allowing production of ethanol from sugar cane juice, which would lessen the dependency on petrol and diesel. “In 2007, we had sent a proposal to the Centre for setting up ethanol production units in Bihar. But the then government at the Centre did not give necessary permission. “It is good that ethanol production is starting in the state,” Nitish said.

The CM further urged the Centre to provide land and other facilities in the coastal area of Odisha for an exclusive port for Bihar. “Bihar is a landlocked state. We are facing many difficulties because of it. We have been demanding since 2011 that a separate port be made available in Odisha, so that Bihar does not face difficulty in exporting its products,” Nitish said.

[Feb 23, 2021 / world-energy.org]   
 
 
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