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51 industrial training to be adopted by Power firms

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To combat a chronic shortage of skilled manpower, state-owned power utilities will adopt 51 industrial training institutes (ITIs) by providing them with financial and technical assistance, said a top official. 'Developing ITIs is very important because many projects are facing manpower shortage on account of which project execution is getting affected,' said Rakesh Nath, chairman of Central Electricity Authority. Central government-owned NTPC Ltd, NHPC Ltd and Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd (PGCIL), besides others, would adopt ITIs near their projects. There is currently a shortage of skilled workers, such as fitters and welders, at power project sites across the country. 'The PSUs (public sector units) will adopt ITIs in the vicinity of the projects before the commencement of the project, thereby meeting the aspirations of the local people by offering them technical skill sets and enabling them to get skilled jobs,' said Nath. There have been instances when projects have been stalled due to opposition from local people. For instance, at the 3,000MW Dibang hydropower project in Arunachal Pradesh, a public hearing has been postponed several times in the face of local opposition. Imparting skills to project-affected people could help towards conflict resolution in such cases. Former finance minister P. Chidambaram, in his 2007 budget speech, had proposed upgrading ITIs through such partnerships. Around 300 ITIs were to be upgraded every year. The government plans to modernize 1,896 ITIs to train one million workers in the next four years and an additional one million every subsequent year.

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