Friday, June 21, 2024

‘State, MeECL will benefit from Leshka project’


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By Our Reporter

 Shillong: State Additional Chief Secretary BK Dev Verma has ruled out the claims that the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) would be engulfed in a financial mess if the third unit of the Myntdu Leshka Hydro Electric Project in Jaintia Hills is commissioned.

Dev Verma said that with the completions of all the three units possibly by March next, the State will be able to meet the growing energy demand and at the same time benefit the State exchequer.

“The third unit of the project will help to earn extra revenue for the MeECL,” he added.

It may be reminded that the secretary of the Association of Power Engineers (APW) and Associations Coordination Committee (ACC), A Dkhar, had recently told The Shillong Times that the Myntdu-Leshka project would not generate 126 MW as was being claimed, since its maximum generation capacity is 90 MW and that too during the rainy season.

The Additional Chief Secretary also refrained from commenting on allegations of rampant corruption within the MeECL regarding implementation of the power project, saying, “I cannot comment on that since the third unit has been approved by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).”

Dev Verma also informed that Stage I of the much-delayed project would be commissioned within the next ten days.

Admitting cost escalation in the project, he said that the project was initially estimated at Rs 360 crore and in 2004, with the extension of the 2nd unit, the cost went up to Rs 671 crore and now it has been revised to Rs 965 crore, almost a three-fold jump. Meanwhile, the Public Relation Officer of MeECL, EB Kharmujai has contested Dkhar’s statement saying, “The statement that there will be no water for the third unit of the project is incorrect. The present Plant Load Factor (PLF) of 3X42 MW is 44 per cent. It was 51 per cent for 2X42 MW. The MLHEP is a Peaking station. The storage capacity of the Reservoir is more than 6 million cubic metres and it can cater to all the three units for peaking (126 MW) round the year.”

Kharmujai also said that the third unit of 42 MW will contribute to the power generation of MeECL by 113.15 million units in a 90 per cent dependable year (low rainfall year). “The third unit will further improve the viability of the project as the cost per megawatt has come down,” he added.

It may be noted that the State spends over Rs 150 crore annually in buying power from outside. In 2009-10 alone, Meghalaya spent Rs 222 crore for procuring 947 million units of power from the National Grid.


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