Assam to adopt Gujarat model for power sector reforms

The BJP-led Assam government would adopt the Gujarat model and follow its technological solutions in metering, billing, collection of electricity bills besides improving the functioning of various power companies, officials said on Tuesday.

According to the top officials of the power department, Assam is suffering a loss of Rs 300 crore every month due to unpaid power bills.

The Assam government would soon send a team led by Power Minister Bimal Bora to Gujarat to study the power reforms of Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL).

An official statement said that in a bid to infuse qualitative development along with empowering the three power companies — APDCL, APGCL, AEGCL — economically, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday held a video conference with Gujarat Energy Minister Saurabh Bhai Patel and senior officials of the GUVNL.

During the virtual conference, the GUVNL gave a powerpoint presentation encompassing all the best practices adopted by the agency for a power surplus Gujarat.

Patel during the conference gave a brief overview of the power sector in his state and a series of initiatives that the GUVNL has been taking since the time Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

He also requested Sarma to send a delegation from Assam to Gujarat to witness the innovative and progressive steps taken for the development of the energy sector in Assam.

“Sarma said that in spite of the steps taken so far, the power companies in Assam could not turn themselves into profitable ventures. Therefore, steps have been undertaken to share the expertise of an energy-rich state to help the three power companies in Assam turn into profit making entities,” a statement said.

The Chief Minister has also asked the officials to recover the unpaid power bills of government officials directly from their salaries.

He stressed on the need to make all the three companies in Assam — Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL), Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Limited (AEGCL) and Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd (APGCL) — profit making ventures within the next five years.

Power Minister Bimal Bora, Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Samir Kumar Sinha, Principal Secretary for Power Neeraj Verma were present during the conference, among others.