Gandhinagar, Friday: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated to the people the country's biggest 5 MW solar power plant set up by Azure Power at Kharoda in Modasa taluka in Sabarkantha district.
Speaking on the occasion, he said that Gujarat would become the only state to generate 100-MW solar energy in six months creating job opportunity for one lakh people, and in due course the ‘global capital of solar power energy'. It is already on way of becoming a ‘global hub' in renewable energy sector.
It was in pursuance of the Gujarat Government's far-sighted proactive Solar Energy Policy that Azure Power commissioned the Rs.170-crore plant on a 63 acre plot in just nine months. It literally amounts to sunrise of sorts for 20,000 families in 150 neighbouring villages as it is scheduled for expansion.
He recalled that Gujarat was the first state to set up a separate department of Climate Change and announce a Solar Energy Policy way back in 2001. The Government of India followed suit but the Central policy is fraught with several discrepancies. He regretted that although Gujarat and Rajasthan are known to have the maximum potential for producing solar energy, the Congress sultanate at the Centre is hell bent in blocking Gujarat's growth but to no avail. He strongly protested the Centre's allotting only 20 MW to Gujarat out of Centre's plan to produce 800-MW solar energy in the entire country.
Referring to the spectre of global warming, he said, we have to tread the path shown by our ancestors to harness and not plunder the natural resources to protect the environment – absolutely essential for the next generation.
Mr. Modi said there could be no stopping six-crore Gujaratis as a the State has taken a number of steps including the world's largest solar park, including solar component manufacturing industry near the Rann of Kutch in north Gujarat, in collaboration with world leaders in the field.
Even as the name of Kharoda village will remain etched in the of world history of solar energy as a polar star, he said, Gujarat Government is committed to overcome all obstacles in its march to new heights.
He said that Gujarat is a front-ranked state in industrial as well as in agricultural growth rate, taking a lead in environmental protection, too.
Minister of State for Energy Saurabh Patel said that Gujarat does not have any coal or gas and yet is the only state in the country which provides electricity for 7x24 hours. The Gujarat Government bears the additional cost of transportation and has to pay an annual subsidy of about Rs.2,500-crore.
He said the State has taken the distribution lines to the remotest areas. It plans to start 140 sub-stations during the next year to ensure uninterrupted quality power supply to rural areas. He assured the people that no house will be left without an electricity connection in Sabarkantha district
IFC Director Anita George said that IFC has committed Rs.450-crore investment to generate 100-MW solar energy in Gujarat. She described Gujarat as the best state in the power sector.
Azure Power has so far invested Rs.45-crore in the solar sector and is keen to increase the amount by 2015.
Giving details of the Kharoda project, Azure Power Chairman H.S. Wadhwa said that solar energy is the ideal mode of rural electrification in India. He hailed the co-operation received from the Gujarat Government and particularly the Energy & Petrochemicals Department from allotment of land to getting necessary permissions, during the implementation of this world class project. No wonder if a number of industrialists from across the world converge in Gujarat, he said.
Prominent among those present on the occasion included District Guardian Minister Jashwantsinh Bhabhor, Minister of State for Education Jaysinh Chauhan, legislator Dilipsinh Parmar, District Panchayat President Hemlataben, GEDA Chairman Ishwarsinh Bhavsar, Principal Secretary (Energy) D J pandian, Azure CEO Indrapreet Wadhwa and District Collector Jayprakash Shivhare among others.