To provide operation and maintenance of the interstate transmission network during the ongoing COVID-19 nationwide lockdown, the Ministry of Power (MoP) has requested the administrations of all states and union territories to allow staff and vendors of power generation and transmission units to perform their duties.
According to the MoP, “Electric power transmission is an essential service for securing smooth and uninterrupted power flow across and within the states.”
The Ministry states that considering the present scenario, there’s a need to ensure the availability and continuity of the transmission network for the smooth flow of power generation.
Due to the rapid spread of novel coronavirus across the country, the Government of India (GoI) has called for a nationwide lockdown of 21 days starting from March 25, 2020.
As per the guidelines, all offices of the GoI and public corporations will remain closed except essential services, including power generation and transmission units.
The Ministry pointed out that the interstate transmission assets of the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (POWERGRID) and other private transmission licensees are essential for continuous operation and maintenance of power supply throughout the country. However, the MoP has requested the state authorities to allow minimum staff to work for the power projects and in offices.
It has also requested to exempt these employees from Section 144 at power generating stations and other related locations where manpower is required for the operation and maintenance activities of the nation’s transmission systems.
Further, the MoP has also sought permission to allow round the clock permission to mobilize field staff and vehicles to reach and access electrical installations of interstate power generation stations.
The Ministry has also requested the state authorities to issue passes for the movement of employees and associated workforce and the production of official ID cards or authorization letters from officers of POWERGRID and private transmission licensees.
Similar guidelines have been issued for renewable energy power generation projects in the country as well.
Considering the outbreak, India has also decided that late fee charges will not be levied on those bills of entry on the import general manifests (IGMs) that are filed between March 21 to 31, 2020, or filed late on or before April 3, 2020. As per the Bill of Entry Amendment Regulations 2018, late fee charges are imposed if the bills of entry are filed late.
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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.