World Bank to lend $310 mn to improve Jharkhand's power system

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New Delhi (IANS): The Centre and the Jharkhand government on Tuesday signed a pact with the World Bank under which the multilateral agency will advance a loan of $310 million to boost the state's power system, mainly transmission infrastructure.

"The Jharkhand Power System Improvement Project will help build new power transmission infrastructure as well as put in place systems to improve the technical efficiency and commercial performance of the state power sector utilities," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

The project, part of the central government's 'Power for All' programme launched in 2014, will help bring in modern technology solutions such as automated sub-stations, network analysis and planning tools to provide reliable power supply, it said.

The deal was signed by Additional Secretary in the Union Finance Ministry Sameer Kumar Khare, Jharkhand Energy Department Secretary Vandana Dadel and World Bank India Country Director Junaid Ahmad.

Khare said the project would help meet Jharkhand's energy needs for its economic growth as demand for reliable power is expected to almost double in coming years. 

Ahmad said the project would help the state increase supply of reliable electricity to households, industries and businesses, and contribute to poverty alleviation and inclusive growth.

Currently, more than 80 per cent of the state's population has access to electricity and the per capita power consumption in Jharkhand at 552 kWh at the end of the financial year 2015-16 is roughly half of the national average, the statement said. 

However, in recent years, the state has achieved lower supply deficits. 

Some of the major components of the project include construction of new sub-stations and transmission lines, providing support to the Jharkhand Urja Sancharan Nigam Ltd (JUSNL) and helping integrate renewable energy in the state grid.

It will also support smart meters, with two-way communication and backend IT infrastructure, deployed in select urban towns. To begin with, the project will finance smart metering for around 350,000 consumers in the capital city Ranchi, the Ministry said. 

The $310-million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a final maturity of 25 years, it added

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