Probe panel found nothing wrong in procurement: CM

‘Irregularities’ in MeECL, Power dept

SHILLONG, May 25: The Justice (retd) RN Mishra-headed committee, which probed alleged irregularities in the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) and the Power department, did not come across anything wrong as regards procurement in the corporation.
Breaking his silence on the report, Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday said the committee did not find anything wrong in terms of procurement. He said the panel observed that the procurement policies of the MeECL are old and obsolete.
According to the committee, there has to be a process in which this needs to be reviewed for a new system to be put in place, the CM said.
He said in terms of administration, the committee observed that there is a need for the corporation to have a fulltime CEO or MD. The committee also made some other recommendations.
“The department is examining all those aspects,” Sangma said.
The inquiry pertained to procurement, aggregate transmission and commercial or AT&C losses, implementation of the Saubhagya scheme and human resources management.
Earlier, the committee stated that it had prepared the report after looking into relevant records, visiting the offices of MeECL and holding interactions with its officials as well as the officials of its three subsidiaries – Meghalaya Power Generation Corporation Ltd, Meghalaya Power Transmission Corporation Ltd and Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Ltd.
Retired IAS officer, Manoj Kumar was the commission’s administrative member while retired executive director of the Rural Electrification Corporation, Sunil Kumar was its technical member.
The government had ordered the probe on July 29 last year following allegations of wrongdoings in the MeECL, the Power department and the Saubhagya scheme and demand for a CBI investigation. Although the committee was given three months to submit the report, it had sought extension on a couple of occasions. The report was submitted to the state government on March 29.
Despite assurances, the government is yet to make the report public.
An official source said after critically examining the procurement rules and procedures of the MeECL and its subsidiaries, the committee benchmarked them against the procurement rules and procedures of the state government and some better-run energy corporations in other states of the Northeast.
In December last year, the committee held a meeting with the officials of the MeECL and its three subsidiaries and sought information on the Leshka Hydroelectric Power Project, new billing software, procurement of more than one lakh meters for service connection, one-time settlement schemes, Chinese meters provided by ADB, industrial tariff, e-tendering process and non-completion of electrification of villages by turnkey contractors, among others.
Asked about the report of probe into the death of former HNLC leader, Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, Sangma said the Political department is going through the detailed and lengthy report.

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