Power-starved Bihar plans to buy 1,000 MW in the open market from 2015 to meet the shortfall in its power requirements and keep the chief minister's promise of power for all before 2015 assembly polls, officials in Patna said on Tuesday.
"At present Bihar is purchasing 300 MW and the state government has begun the process to purchase 1,000 MW from the open market in 2015," said an official of the Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Limited (BSPHCL).
A senior official told IANS that energy department officials had been directed to ensure adequate power by 2015 from open market.
"Chief minister is not ready to take any risk as far as power is a concerned because dependency on central government and delay in completion of upcoming power projects in Bihar is likely to create trouble for him," official said.
Last year, Nitish Kumar announced that he will not ask for votes in the 2015 assembly elections if his government fails to provide electricity to all the villages.
Even this year, Nitish Kumar has repeatedly said that after road construction, electricity has become the main focus of his Janata Dal (United)-led government.
The BSPHCL has already signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with two private power companies. "The BSPHCL has signed agreement with Essar Energy to buy 750 MW and Kamlanga Energy to buy 260 MW," said another official.
According to the PPA, Bihar will get 450 MW from Essar Energy from July 2014 and 300 MW from October 2015, and 260 MW from Kamlanga Energy from November 2015.
While Bihar's daily power requirement is between 3,000 to 3,200 MW, the state produces merely 100 MW, said BSPHCL official, who did not want to be named.
The central government supplies 1,985 MW to the state. Bihar is facing a deficit of over 1,200 MW, they said.
Officials said the state government had already demanded its share in an upcoming thermal power plant of the National Thermal Power Corporation in Barh in Patna district. Besides, the government has cleared other power projects in the private sector in the state.