SHILLONG, April 7: The Coordination Committee of Registered MeECL (Employees) Associations and Unions (CCORMAU) on Wednesday demanded an independent inquiry into the memorandum of understanding signed with the Byrnihat Industrial Association (BIA) for providing special tariff to the industrial units based on the power to be purchase from the National Thermal Power Corporation.
Referring to Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma’s statement that the MeECL is not buying power from the NTPC, CCORMAU member Arju Dkhar said the industrial units are getting power at the rate of Rs 4.90 per unit, which is less than what is charged from normal consumers.
“The industrial units are getting the benefit despite MeECL not buying power from NTPC,” Dkhar, also the president of the Association of Power Engineers, said.
According to him, the industrial units should not enjoy the special tariff when no power was purchased from the NPTC in accordance with the MoU signed.
He said the loss accrued by MeECL because of the special treatment to the industrial units should be estimated. “It is also important to find out how much the industries have gained from this (MoU),” he added.
“We, therefore, urge upon the Chief Minister to constitute an independent inquiry committee to unearth all these details,” Dkhar said.
The CCORMAU member also asked the Chief Minister not to rush through the implementation of the smart energy meters in the state.
Clarifying that they are not against the implementation of the smart meters, Dkhar said the reasons for opposing it is the manner of installing them and the way the loan was availed for the purpose. “Why do we need to take a loan when we have Central government PSUs like Energy Efficiency Services Limited for installing the smart meters free of cost?” he asked.
He said many parameters involved in smart metering need to be looked into.
“Let there be a proper public hearing so that the general public can air opinions on the smart metering system.
People need to know what are the benefits and components of these smart meters,” he said.
CCORMAU president P.K. Chullet insisted the employees are opposed to corruption in any form. “Appropriate action should be initiated against any engineers of MeECL indulging in malpractices,” he said, maintaining they are not against properly executed reforms.
“We are only opposing the bad policies of the management. The way the schemes are being implemented will have detrimental effects and jeopardise the interest of the organisation in particular and the state in general,” the CCORMAU president said.
He further said the employees of the corporation are perturbed by the irregularities in the MeECL. The irregularities include power theft, implementation of Saubhagya scheme, special tariff to BIA, one-time settlement scheme and concession provided to the industries during the COVID-19 lockdown.
CCORMAU has also questioned the decision to do away with the power banking and swapping policy since December last year following which MeECL has been forced to purchase power at a higher rate through power traders.
“The power banking and swapping policy was beneficial since the state is dependent on hydro power. In the past, it was the policy of the management that during the lean period between December and April, the power traders provide us power. We return this power during the rainy season between May and August,” Dkhar said.
According to him, there was no financial transaction and there was only energy transfer between the power traders and the MeECL.
According to him, between December and March, MeECL was purchasing power on a daily basis raking a bill in the range of Rs 20-Rs 80 lakh per day.
While lauding the efforts of the CMD, Arunkumar Kembhavi that there will be no load-shedding from Thursday after MeECL managed to buy power at a higher rate from the market, Dkhar alleged that the power was being purchased through a power trader, Manish Gupta, who was recently appointed as the adviser of the CMD.
He claimed that he (Gupta) is the Assistant Manager of Arunachal Pradesh Power Corporation Private Limited (APPCPL).
“We can clearly see a conflict of interest. How can a power trader become an adviser of the CMD?” Dkhar questioned.