Shillong, April 30: The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has termed the ongoing power crisis in Meghalaya as a “conspiracy” by the state government to make way for uranium mining in order to generate electricity.
The power crisis in the state has aggravated this month with longer hours of load shedding, which has derailed normal life.
“This policy of the Indian government towards Meghalaya is to make Hynniewtrep and A’chik starve so that they live a poor life. The Indian government wants to take away uranium, electricity, coal, land and everything else that would make Hynniewtrep lives enriched. The HNLC would never tolerate anything related to uranium mining and people encouraging uranium mining will be dealt with severely,” HNLC “publicity secretary” Sainkupar Nongtraw said in a statement to reporters.
Uranium mining has been strongly opposed by various groups in Meghalaya since the early 1990s.
The issue of uranium mining from the Kylleng Pyndensohiong Mawthabah (KPM) project had also come up in Parliament in recent years.
The current estimated amount of uranium reserves in Meghalaya is 17,252 tonnes while the total deposit in the country stands at 1,47,898 tonnes.
Nongtraw also alleged that the current crisis was designed in order to “suit the personal motives of the government”.
He said the Hynniewtrep region had always been an area with surplus power to the extent that it could afford to sell its generated surplus of power to other states.
Moreover, he stated that the Myntdu-Leshka, a run-of-the-river (ROR) project, has been disappointing in spite of crores of rupees having been spent.
“The project was estimated at Rs 390 crore, and now it has gone up to an estimated Rs 1,300 crore. This is a clear-cut indication of corruption and exploitation by the Meghalaya government,” he said.
He said the state had failed to develop thermal power generation, which would have helped to tide over the power deficit during the dry season. The vast renewable energy potential has not been tapped, he added.
It is estimated that the state can generate 44MW of power from wind energy and another 230MW from small hydel projects, he said.
While pointing out that the region had an abundance of coal, Nongtraw regretted that the mineral was being transported abroad and to other parts of India.
“Our Hynniewtrep has the capacity to generate its own thermal energy, which can also be sold and supplied to other states. We can become self-sufficient in energy but the vision of the Meghalaya government has created a self-designed power crisis,” Nongtraw added.
At the same time, he said if Punjab could buy coal from other states at expensive rates and then run thermal plants to produce electricity, then why can’t Meghalaya?
“The government has failed in every aspect, be it in terms of providing salary to the primary teachers or in any other field. There is a lot of unemployment in the state but the government spends crores of rupees to satisfy the needs of political appointees in various departments. This is a total waste of public money,” Nongtraw said.