Shillong, April 27: The co-chairman of Meghalaya State Planning Board today suggested that the state government move the Centre for a one-time grant to clear its power dues.
“The state government must move the Centre for a one-time grant to settle pending power dues,” the co-chairman of Meghalaya State Planning Board, John F. Kharshiing, said in a statement.
The suggestion comes in view of the state government having a mountain to climb to clear power bills owed to various central PSUs and private distribution companies.
The Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) owes a staggering Rs 473 crore (in power dues) to Neepco and other entities.
With the mercury scaling unprecedented heights and hours of loadshedding hitting the state, flabbergasted citizens are buying inverters and fans to beat the sweltering heat. As such, business establishments dealing with such goods have been doing brisk business since the past few weeks.
Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) will stage a sit-in here on Tuesday to protest the power crisis, which has hit the state since February.
To improve the situation, Kharshiing suggested that the state government should urgently consider facilitating the setting up of mini-hydro, thermal and solar projects with the active participation of traditional chiefs of the state, including the syiems, dollois, and nokmas, clan elders and private land owners.
He said big projects tend to take a longer period to complete and are often embroiled in controversies. “The small projects initiated at the grassroots level with proper revenue and grid-sharing arrangements with and through the administration of the traditional institutions could help the state in overcoming the current power crisis in the long term,” he said.
Kharshiing also suggested that all major industries, defaulting in huge amounts of payments to MeECL, should come forward and negotiate reasonable time schedules for regular payments of their dues.
“There is no one-way traffic. Politically, we also need effective governance to plug leakage of revenue, continuity of policies and, more importantly, political stability to initiate investment in mini-power projects. Investors shy away when there is frequent instability,” the Congress leader said.
There are no signs yet to illustrate that Meghalaya will tide over the power crisis and swiftly limp back to normalcy.