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CM cites hitches in power projects a cause for load shedding

HP NEWS SERVICE
Shillong, Jan 13: Under fire over unprecedented power cuts in the state Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday held discussion with his cabinet colleagues on the issue.
Speaking to media persons in his office chamber, Conrad said that he was positive that the government would be able to resolve the matter soon.
“As far as the situation goes we are getting a positive response and if the points we are working on materialises within the next 24 hours then we should be able to see a major relief from loading shedding in the next seven to ten days time. But if we are given an assurance the load shedding hours can start from tomorrow,” the Chief Minister said.
He said if the assurances are given then in the meantime the state will be able to use its own generation and water level which is there at Umiam to produce more power for the time being because the state government knows that it will get power supply from providers in the next seven to 10 days.
The Chief Minister also said that the present power situation in the state is not something which was there in the past.
According to him, the state was facing power deficiency this year due to hitches in two power projects namely the Palatana Power Project and the Kupli.
Conrad informed that in Palatana Power Project which is in Tripura there are certain units which are not functioning.
“Since some units are not working about 30 mw of power supply has been cut off for Meghalaya. At the same time another power project in the northeast called Kupli Power Project that too some units are not working which again has led to shortage of 20 mw,” the Chief Minister informed.
He added that both these projects being affected badly the supply of power to Meghalaya was severely hampered which did not happened in the past years.
“So it is a different kind of situation we are facing which is beyond the state government’s control,” the Chief Minister said.
As widely thought, he clarified that the load shedding in the state was not due to any issues with the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO).
He informed that the MeECL has been paying on an average Rs 65 lakh per day since August 2019 to NEEPCO which is touching an amount of over Rs 100 crores in the last four months.
He also said that the government is ensuring that payments are made on a regular basis.
The Chief Minister pointed out that in the last financial year (2018-19) Rs 174 crore was paid to NEEPCO. Conrad said that last year the issue was with NEEPCO and other (power) providers but this year it is not because of that reason.
Conrad also informed that another reason the state government had to resorted to load shedding is because the power it had given to certain agencies during the lean season it cannot get back now due to certain changes in the national policy.
The Chief Minister said that in earlier years there was a system of “power banking”, wherein the state government will give power to some agency then in time of need it can take back power from such agencies.
“So government of India has changed those particular guidelines and I am presuming for the financial health of the power producers the centre has made it mandatory to make the payments in cash. So there is no power banking that takes place,” the Chief Minister said.
He said that this has hit the state at this point of time is because this notification came out few months back but the state government has already given power to certain organisation like the NTPC during the rainy season of June-July last year.
“But then when the order came out those organisations cannot give the power back to us in terms of the banking we had with them earlier. Which would have for us allowed to resolve the issues,” Conrad said.
He said that therefore to facilitate this power banking situation that has arisen the state government need to open us a Letter of Credit with these organisations.
“We are on the job right now and try to figure out how we could retrieve the power that the state government had given at that point in time,” the Chief Minister said.
Meanwhile, sources said that the state has to open the letter of credit with a deposit of around Rs 13.8 crore.