Meghalaya: Details for offering distribution franchise being worked out, says Chief Secretary

The CS has requested the Union Ministry of Power to keep the TPA invocation in abeyance.

Meghalaya Chief Secretary, M.S. Rao has written to the Union Secretary, Ministry of Power, Alok Kumar stating that an in-principle approval has been made regarding the structural changes in the distribution company.

In a letter dated June 1, 2021, Rao said that the finer details for offering Distribution Franchise to REC PDCL are being worked out between REC PDCL and MePDCL.

“Our CMD is currently in Delhi in meetings with REC officials. I am informed that this agreement will be finalised in a weeks’ time,” he said.

The CS has requested the Union Ministry of Power to keep the TPA invocation in abeyance.

He stated that the invocation of TPA and debiting Rs 123.66 crore from the State's account in these trying times when the State Government is battling the 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic which, amongst other things, has adversely affected the finances of the State Government and will hamper the fight against COVID-19.

“Given all the above, I once again urge you to process the 2nd tranche of the Atmanirbhar loan at the earliest. This will provide the much needed relief to NEEPCO and other Gencos and to our DISCOM,” Rao said.

Rao referred to the letter 31.05.2021 regarding discrepancies that need to be rectified by the State Government within 3rd June, 2021 failing which the relevant provision of the TPA will be invoked to recover the said dues.

He informed that the outstanding dues as on the 31.12.2020 was Rs.50.62 crore. He pointed out that an email dated May 11, 2021 and May 17, 2021 was sent and stated that provisions have been made under the budget of various departments to make the payment to MePDCL for offices under their jurisdiction.

The CS said that this was done to follow the procedures for payment of bills to the utility.

“However, since this seems to be a pressing concern for the Government of India M/o Power, Finance Department of the State Government has released an amount of Rs 20 crore to the Power Department vide the sanction letter attached. As the sanction letter mentions, the amount will be utilised to clear off the current dues so that the present outstanding balance stands at Rs 42.03 crore which is lower than the balance at the time of release of the 1st Tranche of the Atmanirbhar loan,” Rao said.

Again, the CS stated that the exact subsidy amount to be paid over the period of 3 (three) years has been completed recently by the State Government and the same was communicated to REC in a letter dated May 17, 2021. 

He said that since the budget was already passed; the amount is not reflected in the State Budget 2021-22.

“However, an amount of Rs 20 crore has been made available to clear the amount for the CFY 2021-22 as per the sanction letter attached and budgetary provision shall be made for the following two years in the respective budgets,” he said.

The Chief Secretary pointed out that the State Government has made a provision of Rs 20 crore in the budget as at the time of preparation of budget 2021-22 the relevant information was not available to the Finance Department.

A token amount of Rs 20 crore was however, provided as a cushion for the DISCOM in case it cannot clear the dues partly following general risk weighted approach.

He added it was also brought to the notice of the REC through an email dated May 11, 2021, that the Finance Department will take necessary measures through appropriate budgetary procedures as and when required to make up for the requirement in case the need arises.

(Edited by Christopher Gatphoh)

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