The Telegraph
Saturday , July 5 , 2014
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Plea to solve power scarcity

Tura, July 4: Former Meghalaya finance minister Conrad Sangma has apprised minister of state with independent charge for power, coal and new and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal, of the acute shortage of power in the state and suggested ways of harnessing energy.

Sangma wrote to Goyal, saying Meghalaya has become power deficient and was not able to meet even 50 per cent of its demand.

He suggested eight broad areas in which the power scenario can be improved. He also suggested “decentralisation of power generation” by harnessing rainwater.

“Meghalaya is blessed with abundant rain, which takes the form of small streams and rivers. If their potential could be tapped, it would not only help in power generation but also to conserve rainwater. The power generated could be used locally without going through the process of transmitting it to far locations,” said Sangma.

He also suggested a hybrid system of power generation by using coal, wind, solar and tidal energy, which is seasonal. “The rivers in the state are not perennial in nature. The huge coal deposits can feed thermal plants. There are seasons when there are ample sunshine and strong winds. All sources of energy should be studied and mapped so that an efficient hybrid system of power generation can be established,” he said.

“Most of the bigger power projects will take time to develop. Therefore, renewable forms of energy should be tapped,” he said.

He also suggested that government offices and educational institutes should have solar panels. “Wind mapping in different parts of the state is a must,” he added.

Sangma also told Goyal that there is a need for qualified and professional manpower in the power sector. “Some districts in Garo hills do not have sufficient manpower and thus the people do not get proper service and maintenance of the lines also suffers. Districts like South Garo Hills suffer the most,” he said.

Sangma drew the minister’s attention to the need to strengthen transmission lines. “Most of the load centres are connected through long-drawn 33-kv lines, leading to heavy losses as they do not efficiently transmit power. If these could be replaced with high-tension lines, the overall efficiency of the system would improve,” he said.

He also urged Goyal to encourage usage of power efficient devices by reducing taxes on such products. “Individual households could be sensitised about the benefits of conserving power by focusing n what they would gain personally if they took a little effort to conserve power,” he said.

In Meghalaya, production of power is from two main sources — Umiam, which generates approximately 186MW and Leshka, which generates 126MW.

The total generation is 311 MW.The state requires over 670MW.

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