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Gandhinagar, Thursday: Chief Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stone of the 500MW Gujarat Solar Park being developed by Gujarat Power Corporation at a cost of Rs.1,247-crore on 1,000-acre government wasteland at Charanka near Santalpur in Patan district in north Gujarat.

He also laid the stone for Smart Grid Transmission Network, being set up by Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation (GETCO), even as the Government of Gujarat has entered into agreement with solar power generation companies to buy up to 590 mw electricity from them.

Several foreign and Indian companies have decided set up solar power generation units on land given on 30 years lease, in addition to plants to manufacture solar power producing machinery, involving a total investment of Rs.7,500-crore.

Talking about the huge quantity of solar radiation available in the state along the vast stretches of the Rann, he said that in the coming days the sunrise in India might be from the west in the westernmost state of Gujarat. The US-based M/s Clinton Foundation, which has carried out research on the subject, has entered into an agreement to partner with the government. He described the event as the sunrise of India's future energy programme.

He said the project is scheduled to check emission of 80-lakh tones of carbon-dioxide and save 9-lakh tones of non-renewable fuel like coal every year.

Touted as Asia's biggest, Mr. Modi declared the project as Swarnim Surya Teerth, being set up as it is in the golden jubilee year of the state's foundation to mark modern way of paying obeisance to the Sun.

Since solar power is likely to be cheaper than other sources of energy in the future, Mr. Modi said the Gujarat's futuristic Solar Energy Policy has earmarked development of job-oriented solar component manufacturing units, too. He listed drip irrigation and precision farming, especially in the semi-arid regions, as some of the other steps the state has initiated in the direction of saving scare fuel resources.

Speaking on the occasion, Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel, who is also Patan District Guardian Minister, said the Solar Park would also ensure facelift of the north Gujarat region. She said the government schemes to provide drinking water to Santalpur, Harij, Chansama and Sami talukas could be hastened up with the cooperation of farmers in land settlement.

Minister of State for Energy Saurabh Patel said that Gujarat has progressed by leaps and bounds during the last decade. He said GETCO would set up 140 sub-stations in the state during the year, including four in Patan district, at a cost of Rs.2,000-crore. Gujarat is the only state in the country providing 24x7 hour electricity to villages. The state resolves to ensure electricity in every house.

IFC Representative Anita George, hailing the Gujarat Government initiative, extended all possible cooperation to the project. Radhanpur MLA Shankarbhai Chodhry welcomed the guest.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Member of Parliament Natuji Thakor, GEDA Chairman Ishwarbhai Bhavsar, MLA Bhavsinhji, Rajnibhai Patel, Principal Energy Secretary Pandia, GSPC Managing Director Tapan Ray, Gujarat Energy Development Corporation General Manager and GETCO Managing Director Negi, District Collector Hingrajia, among others.

Commissionerate of Information, Gujarat

 
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