Meghalaya | Load shedding to continue but will not impact students: Power Minister
Meghalaya Power Minister James Sangma, on Monday, said that the government is making arrangements to make sure that load shedding is limited to three hours for domestic consumers and 10-12 hours for industries.
As for the effect of load shedding on the students’ community, he said, “We are trying our level best to ensure that students are not affected because these are examination times and they (students) are appearing for online examination. It is imperative that they get an interrupted supply of power now, especially when they are writing exams. We are mindful of that and we trying to work in such a manner that this kind of inconvenience is not passed on to students.”
Asked if load shedding will continue, he replied in the affirmative, stating that the present power situation is very fluid.
"We will find ways and means to address the shortage by buying additional power in the open market," Sangma added.
BYRNIHAT POWER THEFT
The power minister pointed out that the skeletons are coming out of the closet and, the government is seriously contemplating an enquiry.
“Since many things are coming to light recently, the government is seriously considering constituting an inquiry, be it a departmental or judicial enquiry or in whatever form it may be. Such enquiry will be in the fitness of things because there is an urgent need,” he said.
Sangma maintained that Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) had suffered huge revenue loss not just from power theft but from other practices that involve nepotism.
AN END TO POWER CRISIS?
Sangma said the government is trying to put a system in place to ensure that in the next one next year, such problems do not occur.
Expressing helplessness over the demands, he said, though the state government has complied with the guidelines/requirements of the Atmanirbhar loan, it depends on the Government of India to process the second tranche of the loan.
“It depends on how fast the Government of India processes the second tranche and makes it available to the generating stations. Meanwhile, the generating stations are very keen and are pressuring us to release (the payments) at the earliest, which is why you see all the regulation notices coming about,” Sangma said.
INVOLVEMENT OF OFFICERS
The power minister has sent out a stern message against venal officers who are allegedly involved in power theft, though he was not ready to jump to conclusions regarding their involvement hand in the power theft.
“Such practices, if they are true and if there is the involvement of officers, then we will spare no one,” he warned.
He was told that from power theft in a year, the MeECL may have lost more than Rs 100 crore (conservative estimation), "which is a phenomenal figure".
He observed that if power theft was avoided, salaries could have been paid and, dues could have been cleared on time.
"Many of the issues plaguing MeECL could have been resolved," he added.
FKJGP MEETS POWER MINISTER
A delegation of the Federation of Khasi-Jaintia and Garo People met the Power Minister on Monday and apprised him of the load-shedding problem, Umngot Hydro Power Project and other issues.
As for the Umngot Hydro Power Project, the Minister said that the project is important for the state, as it will generate an additional 210 MW of power, which will address the shortage of power supply to a large extent.
He said that the government will hear the concerns of the people, ensuring that all stakeholders are taken on board and said that the government is “not in the practice of bulldozing things until and unless we have the confidence of the people”, especially the stakeholders living in and around the region whose livelihood depends on tourism, etc.
Another issue that the FKJGP raised was the appointment of an officer, MK Chetri, as the Director (Distribution), Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited, alleging that Chetri superseded other senior officers.
He informed the FKJGP members that "due process" has been followed while making the appointment.
Sangma clarified that many officers did not qualify since the post of Director of Distribution is for an engineer with a background in electricals.
He said there are officers from the civil background and, there are some who have certain cases pending against them.
“I will have a look at the matter and will have it examined,” he said.
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