Shillong, May 3: The Opposition-constituted fact finding team (FTT) on the power scerio in Meghalaya has recommended construction of a reservoir where rain water can be stored during the lean months.
“Perhaps, the MeECL should contemplate the construction of a reservoir in an area that could be identified,” the FFT report stated.
“The uncertainty of rainfall as per hydrological cycle would render the project worthless if availability of water at the confluence of the three rivers is not sustained,” the report added.
The much-talked about Myntdu Leshka Hydro Electric Project (MLHEP) has generated a lot of criticism from all quarters.
According to the FFT report, the MLHEP is not designed to produce 126 MW in winter months since this is a run-of-the-river hydel project which depends on immediate water storage and discharge in the river.
The FFT also stated that the delay and cost escalation of the MHLEP to the trune of Rs 1286.53 crores has raised a lot of eyebrows and it is not yet known whether the completion cost being scrutinised by IIT Roorkee is made available.
It may be mentioned that the MeECL got the fil forest clearance for commencing the construction of the project from the Ministry of Forest and Environment in May 2004 but due to heavy rainfall the work could start only in October 2004.
In October 2009 and in May 2010, the power house was ravaged by tural calamities including flash floods which disrupted the progress of the work.
It may be noted that the project was initially conceived at an estimated cost of Rs 363.08 crore with no provision for escalation. Later in 2007, the project cost was increased to Rs 671.20 crore. Again in 2008, the third unit was added to the project at a cost of Rs 114.59 crore.
The two major floods in October 2009 and May 2010 not only delayed the project but it also increased the project cost to Rs 1173.13 crore including the cost of overrun and the damages due to the floods.
The project’s history dates back to 1975-76 when investigation work of the project was taken up by the then MeSEB. But it took another 23 years for the Board to prepare a Detailed Project Report, which was filly sent to the Central Electricity Authority for clearance in October 1998.
The public hearing for Environmental Clearance, technical and forest clearance took another three years.
MeECL accorded administrative approval the next year in 2002 and the foundation stone was laid by the then president APJ Abdul Kalam. A five-year deadline was set for completion of the project in 2007 which was revised time and again until the first unit of 42 MW was commissioned in 2012.