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27 years on, project sees light

Lengery (Karbi Anglong), April 6: Assam today got its first independent hydel power project, 27 years after it was sanctioned by the Planning Commission.

The long gap between planning and execution told a story of inefficiency, but that did not stop a large crowd from braving intermittent rain to be a part of the formal commissioning of the Karbi Langpi project.

While admitting that it took a very long time to complete the project, chief minister Tarun Gogoi said his government never lost hope and went all out to finally see it through. “Power is required by all and it is important to complete power projects on time to reduce shortage. The problem of power shortage is everywhere... it is there in Jorhat, as in Karbi Anglong,” he added.

Gogoi dedicated the 100-MW unit to the people of the state as a whole, though the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council was quick to demand its pound of flesh. The council wants 30 MW exclusively for the district, and at a concessional rate at that.

A 50-MW unit of the project was commissioned just before the National Games at Guwahati in February to ensure adequate supply of power during the event.

Gogoi said the commissioning of the Karbi Langpi project was just the beginning and there would be a number of such projects to meet the projected demand of 1,500-MW by 2014. Mentioning po-wer as a vital prerequisite to industrial development, Gogoi said mere incentives were not enough to woo investors. “We are taking positive steps to augment the power position.”

Power and industries minister Pradyut Bordoloi said the delay in completing the Karbi Langpi project was a lesson for the Assam State Electricity Board, which has been under fire for the shortage of power across the state.

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