Power cuts in state spark anger

SHILLONG, March 2: The sudden load-shedding in the state — the third in the last four months — has angered the coalition partners of the National People’s Party, the Opposition Congress, and civil society groups.
“This is unthinkable as the government had maintained last time that the dues are being cleared and there will be no more load-shedding,” United Democratic Party (UDP) general secretary, Jemino Mawthoh said while reacting to the power cut.
Stating that a lot of activities are now done online post-COVID, he said that the state will incur losses and the students will be among the worst sufferers from the load-shedding.
“We did not expect this after the government said it is availing loan to clear the dues. The Power Minister should think about this,” Mawthoh said, adding that UDP president Metbah Lyngdoh would be taking up the matter with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Speaker, Metbah Lyngdoh expressed surprise that the MeECL had resorted to load-shedding yet again.
“Personally I do not see any reason for MeECL to re-impose load-shedding. I tried to speak to Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma to inquire about the power cut, but he (Conrad) was busy,” Lyngdoh told reporters here.
He recalled that he had spoken to the chief minister when the MeECL had imposed load-shedding on February 14.
“I was assured that there won’t be any more load-shedding. But to my surprise load-shedding was again re-imposed from yesterday,” the Speaker added.
Stating that is was a crucial time for students preparing for their board examinations,  Lyngdoh demanded that load-shedding should be lifted immediately.
Congress leader Ampareen Lyngdoh said that frequent bouts of load-shedding schedule has angered the people.
“The government had taken so much pride for availing Rs 1,345.72 crore from the Centre under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. But load-shedding returned 13 days after the assurance that it has been taken care of,” she said.
Lyngdoh slammed the government for declaring prematurely that it has done what the past governments could not. “The MDA has exposed its shallow understanding of complex issues, throwing MeECL on the verge of collapse,” she added.
She said that the Rs 930-crore loan taken from the Asian Development Bank in 2020 for improving the MeECL has not reflected on its performance.
Lyngdoh asserted that dues of Rs 1,460 crore “cannot under any circumstances” plunge a state into total darkness and the condition for availing huge loans will impact the state exchequer in the long term.
“The unbundling of the Corporation cannot be further delayed and only capable technocrats can put the state-owned power provider back on track,” she said.
Civil Society Women’s Organisation president Agnes Kharshiing wondered how the government could go for load-shedding without informing the people in advance.
“This is Meghalaya where some people abuse power and forget the people,” she said.

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