The Punjab Government today made a forceful plea to declaring agriculture sector as an ‘Island’ on the pattern proposed for New Delhi for ensuring it uninterrupted power. These views were put forward by Punjab Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who represented Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in Power Ministers’ meeting convened by Union Power Minister Veerappa Moily in view of recent grid failures on July 30 and 31st. Majithia said that Union Power Ministry would have to chalk out an innovative policy for the larger cause of food security of country especially in view of deficient monsoon in the country. Majithia also endorsed the proposal of Union Power Minister of declaring power to agriculture sector an essential service. He also sought 1000 MW power from unallocated central quota for agriculture sector. Seeking immediate decision on coal-linkages for the upcoming three thermal plants in the state, Majithia said that an early decision was imperative not only for Punjab but for the whole country’s power scenario. Rubbishing the blame on Punjab for grid failure Majithia said that Punjab cannot be blamed for failure of northern grid and said that its decimative overdrawl on the day of failure was being grown up ignoring the more than 25% overdrawal by serial and serious offender states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh just because of political reasons. Putting forward the case of Punjab Majithia said that Punjab despite being the agrarian state, consuming power mostly for its paddy sowing operations, has acted in most disciplined manner. He said that understanding the gravity of power crisis being faced by the country, Punjab is the only state that has banned the use of Air Conditions in its offices and offices of boards and corporations besides rescheduling the time of offices to decrease the load of power consumption. He said that it was the Punjab that has made advance purchases of Power in the month of January, February itself anticipating a growth of 10% in power demand and had arranged 3129 MUs for Rs. 1223 crore. He said that even though meterological department was predicting normal monsoon Punjab purchased 1075 MUs for Rs. 423 crore besides also tying 1784 MUs under banking arrangements. He said that in the month of June and July Punjab has purchased 496 MUs for Rs. 206 crore on the day ahead basis and 412 MUs for Rs. 170 crore under unscheduled interchange. He said that fearing a swear drought the Punjab has called tenders for additional power to the tune of 500 MUs for August to October. He said that till date Punjab has purchased power worth Rs. 7000 crore. He said that according to estimates Punjab was purchasing additional power to the tune of Rs. 1531 crore over and above the normal purchase due to failure of Monsoon and Union Government should reimburse this amount to Punjab as this amount has been spent by Punjab for the food security of the country. Expressing concern over wrong and mischievous propaganda regarding grid failure due to overdrawl by Punjab Majithia said that at the time of Grid failure the overdrawl by Punjab was 1.23 % against habitual overdrawal of Haryana at 22.4% and Uttar Pradesh of 6.4% that was being repeatedly ignored by the Power Ministry. He said that even at the time of first grid failure the overdrawal of Punjab was 5.5 % with Haryana overdrawing 25.5 % and UP 20.8%. He said that if we go by average overdrawal in the month of July by different states, Punjab has an average of 4% overdrawal against 31% overdrawal of UP, 17 % of Haryana and 18% of Rajasthan. He said that clubbing disciplined states like Punjab with serial offenders was not acceptable to the proud people of Punjab. Seeking 1000MW additional power for Punjab from the unallocated quota of central pool, Majithia said that due to failure of Monsoon, the farmers were trying to augment all resources to irrigate the already sown paddy to save the crop so that they could fulfill their obligations towards nation to make it self sufficient on food security front. He said that Union Government, understanding the gravity of the situation should take an early decision on this to save the agriculture sector of Punjab. Majithia said that the Power requirement of Punjab, the grain bowl of the country cannot be clubbed with other state as failure of state government to supply power to agriculture sector that too during paddy season could have long term implications on the food security of the country. He said that deficit monsoon has put pressure on PSPCL that was trying to augment power to agriculture sector by imposing cuts on industrial and domestic sectors so that Punjab could fulfill its commitment for providing record paddy crop for national pool. He said that this year the paddy sowing was expected to be on 29 lakh hectares, 1.5 lakh hectare more than last year. Demanding increase in the capacity of power transmission to 6000 MW for Punjab, Majithia said that presently 5400 MW transmitted to Punjab through power grid transmission system, which has already fully utilized and there was no more capacity left to bring any additional power. He said that Punjab is willing to purchase more power on day ahead basis to meet the paddy load requirement. Majithia also demanded inclusion of States Representatives in the committees constituted by Union Government to study the cause of Grid Failure.