| M. Veerappa Moily |
Shillong, Sept. 12: The foundation stone for the first-ever hydel power project, to be executed by the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (Neepco) in Meghalaya, will be laid by Union power minister M. Veerappa Moily on Monday.
Despite having its headquarters in Shillong since 1976, it was only in April this year that the Meghalaya government officially accorded Neepco with a hydel power project — the 85MW Mawphu hydro-electric project (stage II) on the Umiew river in East Khasi Hills.
Prior to that, in March 2011, Neepco managed to bag its first ever Meghalaya-specific power project after it signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) for developing the 500MW thermal power project near Darrugiri in East Garo Hills.
On April 20 this year, Neepco, which is a public sector undertaking under the power ministry, had signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the state government for developing the Mawphu hydroelectric project.
At least 18 months would be required for Neepco to complete the detailed survey and investigation, including the preparation of the detailed project report (DPR) for the Mawphu project.
After attaining all the necessary clearances, the construction work would take around four years to be completed.
When the agreement was signed, Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma had declared that Neepco had given the assurance that the work would be completed within the stipulated time, besides providing free power worth Rs 12 crore to the state.
Neepco director (technical) Utpal Moral had then said the 85MW hydel project would cost around Rs 450 crore at Rs 5.5 crore per megawatt.
On the thermal project in Garo hills, which is worth around Rs 3,000 crore, Neepco had said the completion would take around 36 months after attaining investment approval from the Centre.
Once the project is completed, 100MW out of the 500 MW will be allocated to Meghalaya while the remaining would be shared between the other Northeastern states.
Besides, the state will also benefit around Rs 50 crore annually by way of royalty and taxes on coal.
Moreover, fly ash-based industries like cement, bricks, blocks, panels and tiles would benefit from the thermal plant. The ash, which will be made available for free, will also help agriculture, road construction and mine filling.
Neepco had assured that it would adopt the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) at Williamnagar in East Garo Hills where training will be imparted to the local youths.