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NE States for power push in region

From A Correspondent
Shillong, Oct 11: The North-eastern States have called for development of power sector for overall growth of the region. The call was made during the 18th North Eastern Regional Power Committee (NERPC) meeting held at the State Convention Centre here on Wednesday under the aegis of the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL).
Speaking at the NERPC meeting, Arunachal Pradesh Power Minister Tamiyo Taga minced no words when he said that power projects sanctioned since 2014 have not started in the State.
“Till now there is no activity on the ground and no construction work has started till now. The State agencies have been overlooked here. We trust Power Grid Corporation of India, but they should work,” he said.
The Arunachal Pradesh Minister also stated that even though the State is known as the power house of India with more than 50,000 mw of estimated power generating capacity and agreements have been signed for more than 300 power projects, none of these power projects has taken off the ground.
Taga was also critical of protests in the downstream against the hydel power projects in his State. He alleged that a section of people in Assam are objecting to the proposed hydel projects in Arunachal while the same people are silent when similar projects are being built by China on the Brahmaputra.
“At Tsangpo river (Brahmaputra), so many hydel projects have been built by China and even commissioned also. But in the Siang river in Aruanchal Pradesh, no project is coming up because of the agitation downstream,” Taga lamented.
Voicing serious concerns on opposition by several groups in Assam against construction of dams in Arunachal, Taga said, “When China constructs dam at Tsangpo, people of Assam don’t speak about the downstream effects, but when any project is announced on the same river in our State, they take to the street.”
In his address, Meghalaya Power Minister Comingone Ymbon said the Northeast is endowed with abundant resources for development of power, especially hydel power, but most of these remain untapped. Adding that the region is facing low voltages in several pockets, he said in order to address the problems capacitor bank installation has to be put in place.
He also observed that the region is also facing the problem of power low voltage in the different pockets and to address this problem capacitors bank installation has to be put in place.
“It is learnt that DPR of Nagaland, Tripura and Mizoram for the above schemes has been kept in low priority. We need to take this issue together very strongly with the Central Electricity Authority and the Ministry of Power. The Centre should provide funds to the States of the region through Power System Development Fund to address the problem of low voltage,” the Minister stated.
Ymbon also informed the meeting that demand for power in Meghalaya is primarily met from the State’s own generating company MePGCL and the present generation capacity is 354.7 mw, with an addition of 40 mw after the commissioning and declaration of commercial operation of the New Umtru Hydro Electric Project on 1st July this year.
“There are two ongoing small hydel projects – Ganol HEP and Lakroh HEP. Survey is currently underway for 22 hydro electric projects, including 16 small hydel projects. The State government has envisaged development of Solar Power Park in the State and has taken up development of two solar parks of 10 mw each and the transmission sector in the State is being strengthened and expanded through various schemes, including North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP),” he said.
Ymbon also expressed hope that the meeting will address many issues affecting the power sector of the region and the outcome of the meeting will significantly contribute towards efficient and reliable grid operation of the region and achieve the common objective of providing 24x7 power to all at an affordable price.
Meanwhile, Tripura Power Minister Manik Dey accused the Union Ministry of Power of depriving the North-eastern States while sanctioning Centrally-sponsored schemes like Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).
“Tripura had submitted DPR under DDUGJY for Rs 903.01 crore for electrification of un-electrified habitations covering 100% households, including quality power supply to rural areas. But sanction has been received for Rs 74.12 crore only, which is about 8.21% of the total requirement,” Dey said.
Similarly, he said that under IPDS, DPR of Rs 510.16 crore for renovation, augmentation and strengthening of urban distribution system for supply of reliable and quality power was submitted, but the sanction received was only Rs 74.24 crore, which is 14.55% of the total requirement.