Shillong, April 28: Power-starved Meghalaya is likely to receive a respite from frequent loadshedding in the days to come.
The Meghalaya government and Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL) will negotiate with North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (Neepco) to ease the power crisis that the state is facing.
The state is compelled to resort to power cuts for nearly nine hours a day, as central public sector undertakings like Neepco, that supply power to the state, have regulated their supply in view of huge outstanding dues.
The decision to hold talks with Neepco was taken today at a review meeting of the government.
The meeting was chaired by chief minister Mukul Sangma in the presence of power minister Clement Marak, chief secretary P.B.O. Warjri, additional chief secretary (power and finance), Balavanta Kishore Dev Varma and MeECL director (finance), Pankaj Jain.
Marak resumed office at the secretariat here after a prolonged absence for medical check-up.
Speaking to reporters, Marak said they discussed short-term measures to address the problem.
“A good decision was taken where it was decided to negotiate with Neepco to allow the state to pay a part of the total outstanding amount of Rs 300 crore,” Marak said.
“The state government is making arrangements from its own sources to pay a certain amount to Neepco. It is expected that we should be able to pay a part of the amount within this week,” he said, adding that once power supply by Neepco is restored, the duration of power cuts could also be reduced.
According to sources, Neepco had asked MeECL to clear at least Rs 50 crore so that it can restore power supply. The government had even talked to the Union ministry of power to convince Neepco to accept an amount less than Rs 50 crore.
Sources said the Meghalaya government can initially pay at least Rs 30 crore.
MeECL bought around 47MW power from Neepco alone and 35MW from National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd, besides other companies, including NHPC.
According to the power minister, Meghalaya’s own generation at present, in view of the dry spell, is only 30MW and the shortfall is around 87MW.
The newly commissioned Myntdu-Leshka project, a run-of-the-river project in Jaintia hills with a capacity of 126MW, can generate between 5MW and 6MW power. Umiam hydel project, with a capacity of 186MW, can generate power only below 30MW at present.
Meghalaya’s demand for power is over 610MW and the demand might shoot up to 800MW by the end of the Twelfth Plan.
The state is also getting a share of 79MW from the two units of the Palatana project in Tripura — 39.5MW from each unit.