According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the government of Andhra Pradesh has reported the development of a cumulative capacity of 1,160 MW of ultra-mega solar parks in Naxal affected regions of the state.
During the Question Hour of the ongoing Parliament winter session, Union Power Minister R.K. Singh informed Lok Sabha that these projects had been developed in the taluks of Nambulapula Kunta (1,000 MW) and Ramagiri (160 MW). Both taluks are located in the Ananthapuramu district of the state.
The government provides central financial assistance at the rate of ₹200,000 (~$2,788)/ MW for the development of ultra-mega solar projects and parks across the country, including the Naxal-hit areas.
Singh was responding to a query posed by Chirag Kumar Paswan, the Member of Parliament from Bihar, who had asked the ministry whether the government has any proposal to establish mega solar power projects in the Naxal-hit areas especially in the Jamui district of Bihar.
Talking about the details of plan outlay and implementation procedure for any proposals in the future, Singh said that the state governments are required to “submit project proposals indicating land availability as per the program for the consideration of the central government for its approval.”
The government has been trying to expand the reach of solar power through various policy incentives across the country though penetrating left-wind extremism affected regions of the country is difficult. Because of security concerns, most of these areas have remained underdeveloped with poor electricity supply.
In June 2018, the Union Cabinet had approved phase three of the Off-grid and Decentralized Solar PV Application Program. Under the program, a total of 3,00,000 solar streetlights would be installed across the country, and areas devoid of grid connectivity with no facility of street lighting solution would get precedence over other areas. The program also aims to distribute 25,00,000 solar study lamps in northeastern states and left-wing extremism affected districts.
The second phase of this program also included such states which have left-wing extremist groups.
In December 2018, the ministry also received ₹500 million (~$7.13 million) to meet the pending liabilities of phase I of the program. Under the phase II of AJAY, 304,500 solar streetlights are expected to be installed in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, North Eastern states including Sikkim, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep, and parliamentary constituencies covering 48 aspirational districts.
Image credit: Silicon Ranch
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.