Shillong power deal set to be scrapped

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Shilong
  • Published 14.07.08
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Shillong, July 14: Under pressure from NGOs and the people, the coalition partners of the ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance today decided to scrap the power deal with six private companies.

The coalition partners in the MPA — the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the United Democratic Party (UDP), the Hill State Peoples Democratic Party (HSPDP), the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM), the BJP and the Independents — unanimously decided to recommend to the state cabinet scrapping of the power deal.

MPA spokesperson Paul Lyngdoh told reporters after the meeting this evening that the alliance had taken the decision considering their commitment to the people.

The matter will be taken up in the cabinet meeting scheduled for July 22 for a final decision.

Recently, the NCP and the UDP had passed separate resolutions on the need to scrap the power deal.

Power minister Conrad Sangma said the MPA favoured scrapping the deal considering the promise made by its coalition partners during the election campaign.

“The state government will face difficulties once the deal is scrapped. One problem will be the legal complications that arise once the private companies approach the court after the deal is scrapped. Another will be the prolonged power shortage the state has to face,” he said.

Sangma said the MPA had only adhered to the demand of the people and the NGOs to fulfil the commitment made to them in the past. “It is better to face legal problems once the deal is scrapped than face agitations,” he added.

The Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People and the Khasi Students’ Union protested against the deal after the previous Congress-led government entered into a joint venture with six private companies in December to tap the power potential of the state. The NGOs accused the government of not following the procedures of international competitive bidding before signing the memorandum of understanding.

As pressure mounted, the government constituted a committee to examine the merits and demerits of the deal. In its report submitted to the government, the committee suggested the pros and cons of scrapping the deal, leaving room for the cabinet to take a decision.