Shillong, March 11: At a time when Meghalaya has huge outstanding dues to power companies, the state government today announced it would fast-track power projects being implemented under the joint venture mode.
Replying to a calling attention motion tabled by Chokpot legislator Clifford R. Marak in the Assembly today, chief minister Mukul Sangma said in order to reduce the dependence on other power distribution companies, his government would fast-track projects operated under the joint venture mode.
Once such projects are completed, he said the state would be able to get 10 per cent free power and two per cent for local development from each project.
“We need to increase the efficiency of the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) in terms of distribution, transmission, reducing distribution losses and expediting project implementation to increase home generation,” the chief minister said.
He said the cost of power generation within the state was about Rs 2 per MW while it was around Rs 4 per MW if power was purchased from outside.
“If we fail to pay them (power distribution companies), the credibility of the state will be questioned. But if we can pay on time, we get incentives,” he said, while stressing on the need to explore potential sites for power generation.
On the other hand, Sangma said the outstanding power dues have touched Rs 473.85 crore as on February 28 this year.
He said the state has to pay Rs 363.64 crore to the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (Neepco) alone, while the dues to the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) are Rs 21.23 crore and Rs 24.65 crore respectively.
The dues to the PowerGrid Corporation of India Ltd is Rs 28.39 crore, while the wheeling charge to the Assam State Electricity Board is Rs 14.60 crore.
On the late realisation of power bills from consumers, Sangma said the billing process could be made technology-driven where the MeECL can introduce pre-paid billing.
Governor Krishan Kant Paul in his address to the Assembly on Friday had admitted the power scenario has been a cause for concern in the last few years. He said the state has been facing a power deficit of around 20-30 per cent of the demand.