Meghalaya: TUR demands CBI inquiry into "financial mess" in MeECL
Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR), a Meghalaya-based social organisation, is demanding a CBI inquiry into the "financial crisis” in the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL).
The organisation is also demanding the resignation of Power Minister James PK Sangma over the prevailing mess in the MeECL.
In a press release issued on Thursday, TUR accused the Power Minister of “presiding over Meghalaya’s biggest instance of financial irregularity.”
“These two major schemes are riddled with an obvious case of financial and administrative irregularity,” she said.
TUR alleged that competitive bidding for implementing the Saubhagya scheme was an “eyewash,” and conditions favoured certain bidders.
“They based these contracts on bids which were on an average extortionately higher than the usual rates at which MeECL was buying similar materials for other rural electrification schemes. Procurement of materials made up 70 per cent of the total project cost,” Rangad said.
She alleged that Rs 293.75 crore was misappropriated in the procurement of materials for implementing this scheme.
TUR alleged that for implementing Saubhagya (A) and (B), one company - Satnam Global was favoured.
The organisation also demanded an independent investigation in this matter.
“We demand an investigation by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) to fix responsibility and to recover the amount of Rs. 293.75 crore from the favoured supplier/implementing corporation,” Rangad said.
Referring to the Smart Meter Project, TUR said the State government had taken a loan of approximately Rs 230 crore from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to pay their “favoured company” Satnam Global to implement this project.
“There is a government of India scheme via which state discoms are being helped to replace their old meters by smart meters through a central PSU called EESL Energy Efficiency Service Limited where this programme is being implemented under the BOOT model on cost-plus approach, which means all Capex/Opex is done by EESL and the states/ utilities are not required to invest upfront,” Rangad said.
She alleged that there is a scam of 100 per cent in the Smart Meter Project, i.e., of Rs. Rs. 233 crore.
“This ball-park estimation of the financial irregularity of Rs.450.75 crore is the biggest case of financial impropriety our state has witnessed,” she added.
Besides the demand for Power Minister James Sangma’s resignation, TUR also demanded the replacement of the Chairman-cum-Managing Director and Board of Directors of MeECL and an immediate stop to the schemes being implemented by Satnam Global and Onycon, including non-payment of their dues.
The financial mess in the state-owned company has turned into a hot topic of discussion at the ongoing budget session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
While replying to a query in the Assembly recently, the Power Minister said there is an increase in liabilities of MeECL and cited low billing efficiency, transmission and distribution losses besides other reasons.
Clarifying on the Smart Meter Project, Sangma said he believed that the smart meters would enable the corporation to bring down the commercial losses as billing efficiency would “improve exponentially”.
Edited by Andre Kongri