29 July 2014 Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says she is confident that construction of South Africa’s new coal-fired power plant, the 4 764 MW Medupi power station near Lephalale in Limpopo province, will be completed by December. Brown said this in Cape Town on Tuesday when she, along with Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson and the top management of state electricity company Eskom, appeared before Parliament’s portfolio committees on public enterprises and energy. The R105-billion power plant is expected to ease the pressure from Eskom’s ageing power grid, which in recent months has been battling to supply electricity to both residential and industrial customers. Brown said that despite many challenges and construction delays, she was “very confident” that the synchronisation of Medupi’s Unit 6 into the national power grid would happen by December. Medupi is one of the two large coal-fired stations that Eskom is currently building. It will the first South African power station to have “super-critical” technology, and one of the world’s largest dry cooled stations, so it will much more efficient than older coal-fired stations. The other station, Kusile, is located in Mpumalanga province and will have the same technology but with the addition of flue-gas desulphurisation, a state-of-the art technology used to remove oxides of sulphur from the exhaust flue gases of coal-fired power plants. President Jacob Zuma, in his State of the Nation address last month, said the government would pave the way for a “radical transformation” of South Africa’s energy sector as it moved to address one of the major constraints to faster economic growth in the country. This transformation, he said, would require “structural changes in the manner in which government departments, affected state-owned companies and the industry as a whole address the energy challenges”. It would also call for an injection of capital and human resources into the sector, as well as innovative approaches to fast-track procurement and delivery by the government in the sector. On Tuesday, Brown stressed the importance of increasing Eskom’s power supply capacity, saying the parastatal’s performance was vital to the country’s economic growth. She added that she wanted Eskom’s new CEO to be announced no later than mid-August. Former CEO Brian Dames stepped down at the end of March. “Following this, I have urged the board to move rapidly to fill all the other critical vacant executive positions to ensure the sustainability of the company.” She said she had also given Eskom’s board until September to produce a plan on ensuring the sustainability of South Africa’s national power grid. SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporter
Asian Games 2018 gold medallist Swapna Barman made the nation proud when she braved pain to bag India’s first ever gold medal in heptathlon at the Games.Swapna, who was suffering from toothache and had her jaw strapped with a tape to nullify it, scored 1003 points in high jump, 872 points in javelin throw and finished second-best in shot put and long jump with 707 and 865 points respectively to bag the top prize.Since then, Swapna, 21, has been a household name and deservingly getting loads of attention for her sensational effort at the Jakarta and Palembang Games.Another reason barring the toothache, that makes Swapna’s achievement really special, is the fact that she didn’t have customised shoes during the event for her 12 toes. She went in like a warrior and conquered the Games in her category.Speaking to India Today, she says that she didn’t have time to think about pain and anything else because she wanted to give her best.Also read – Swapna Barman’s Asian Games 2018 gold treads a new path for homecoming”I just wanted to give my best no matter what and that was the only thing I was thinking about. This pain, injury…I didn’t have the time to think about all this. Swapna Barman had no customised shoes made for her 12 toes (AP Photo)Nobody ever told me that I can’t compete. Especially my parents, they never said anything of that sort. My parents asked me to do it and were hoping that I get jobs,” said Swapna after her Asiad glory despite the lack of special gear.Also read – Asian Games 2018: Swapna Barman wins India’s first ever gold in heptathlonadvertisementSwapna, a resident of Jalpaiguri, also stressed on the fact that she got immense support from her parents and for her, their wish, will always be her command.”They never said anything about my feet and I also never told them that it is paining. I never complained that ‘I’m feeling a lot of pain or like you are sending me to sports. So I need this and that’…never asked for anything. I just wanted to do what they wanted because we are four brothers and sisters and I’m the youngest.So, whatever my parents think, I will do it…no matter what that is,” Swapna said.Swapna’s success in Indonesia has brought upon a lot of attention and that is not only benefitting her but also her native village.Also read – Poverty-stricken Barmans look at bright future after Swapna’s Asiad goldFor decades, the narrow stretch leading to the Barman residence on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri town has been a dirt road. The gravel laden narrow lane between the paddy fields that led to the Ghoshpara village was the first track Swapna ever ran on in her life.But now, as the town gets ready to welcome their daughter, a dozen labourers are busy pouring concrete on to the stretch as villagers eagerly anticipate the return of their golden girl after her Asiad victory. The district administration is converting it into a concrete road as VIP’s have constantly made their presence felt at the doorstep of the poor rickshaw puller’s family.On Saturday, Darjeeling BJP MP SS Ahluwalia visited the Barmans and congratulated the family after state minister Gautam Deb had visited them a day before. Deb made the family speak to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over phone, who in turn announced a Rs 10 lakh reward and a government job for Swapna.