Mukul ready for Leshka audit

Smelling a rat?: Chief Minister Mukul Sangma makes a gesture during his reply on power situation in Assembly
on Thursday.(ST)

SHILLONG: In an attempt to end the controversies over the cost and time overrun of the Myntdu Leshka Hydro power project, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Thursday proposed to conduct an audit of the power project by an independent third party.
Replying to the motion on the State’s power scenario raised by UDP legislator Jemino Mawthoh, Mukul Sangma proposed that the audit will present clarity on the various factors leading to the time and cost overrun and other aspects of the project.
Stating that that there were a number of factors which led to the project incurring cost and time overrun, Sangma added that certain components of the project had to be revised due to ‘geological surprises’ and re-designing had to be done in many cases. He added that successive governments had made attempts to tap the potential installed capacity of the State but the ideas could not be conceptualized due to fund constraints.
According to Sangma, if the need is to adopt correct approach and effective management of the project, the government will have to take decisions based on a strong political will along with the support from all concerned.
The Chief Minister even castigated the non-Congress Government in Meghalaya for canceling  major projects that were initiated by the Congress Government in 2007.
Sangma also referred to the cancellation of a number of proposed power projects signed with private developers and central PSUs in 2007 including the 500 MW thermal project in East Garo Hills and the 85 MW Mawphu project by the then non-Congress government.
He stated that the decision to cancel the projects were more of a political decision than an executive decision even he attacked the Opposition saying that one of the factors for the prevailing power scenario in the State is due to the tendency of taking decisions on political considerations.
Sangma pointed out that Meghalaya and other states have failed to take advantage of the vibrant Electricity Act, 2003 since there is trend to doubt the intention of the Government.
Highlighting the various initiatives taken by the government to come up with solutions to the State’s power woes, Sangma said there is no other answer to this problem but to increase power generation capacity by tapping all available resources in the State, including hydro projects of all sizes.
Sangma also informed that the government has decided to develop some power projects in the inter-state border with Assam, and said, “We have asked NEEPCO to discuss the proposal with the government of Assam.”
Sangma said the government is also reviewing all power projects including the 85MW Mawphu hydel power project.
Sangma informed that the bidding process for the 22.5 MW power project in Garo Hills has been completed and government will have to indicate the availability of funds and the process will complete within this month for construction to take off. He also said the Stage I of the Kynshi project has been completed.
To bridge the demand and supply gap, the Chief Minister stressed on the need to tap sources like solar, wind and energy from biomass.
Earlier, while moving the motion, UDP MLA Jemino Mawthoh said the State which has tremendous installed power capacity has not been able to tap the resources while adding that Meghalaya has a total installed hydro power capacity of 3000 MW while there is coal installed power capacity of 1000 MW but Government has not been able to harness even one-third of the installed generation capacity.
NPP legislator James Sangma, while participating in the motion, said that MeECL suffers from acute shortage of manpower besides the Government also needs to update its technology with twenty years of planning to improve the power scenario of the State.
He also stressed on the need to effectively implement the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) State to provide electricity to rural and far flung villages of the State.

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