SHILLONG, OCT 11: Power ministers from the different states of the North East today expressed concern over lack of development in the power sector of the region and demanded change in the present pattern of funding by the Central government.
“It is time that all the NE states should join hands to approach the Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, New Delhi to change the present pattern of funding,” Nagaland power minister C Kipili Sangtam said.
Speaking at the 18th North East Regional Power Committee (NERPC) meeting held in the state capital here, Sangtam said in doing so, the Government of India will do complete funding and we will get complete power facility for the overall socio-economic development of the region.
Stating that all NE states are facing acute problem due to shortfall in funding of various power projects, he said, “We are indeed tired of asking gap funding from North Eastern Council (NEC), Ministry of DoNER and other financial institutions.”
The North East region being development deficit states, Sangtam said therefore it is felt that the Government of India should give preference to NE states while framing policy, funding and action plan of power projects.
Echoing similar views, Tripura power minister Manik Dey accused the Ministry of Power of depriving the NE states while sanctioning centrally sponsored schemes like Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) & Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).
He informed that the Government of Tripura had submitted DPR under DDUGJY for Rs 903.01 crore for electrification of un-electrified habitations for covering 100% households including quality power supply to rural areas.
“However, sanction has been received for Rs 74.12 crores only which is about 8.21% of the total requirement.”
Similarly, he said that under IPDS, DPR of Rs 510.16 crore for renovation, augmentation and strengthening of urban distribution system for supply of reliable & quality power was submitted but sanction received was only Rs 74.24 crore which is 14.55% of the total requirement.
Dey also wondered that with the above meager sanction amount how can state meet the objective of 24X7 Power for All (PFA) as declared by the Government of India.
According to him, the Ministry of Power should provide full sanction of DPR value for both DDUGJY & IPDS to achieve the objective of 24X7 Power for All.
He said the implementation of centrally sponsored schemes are taken up on priority by the states but flow of fund from the Government of India is not smooth resulting delay in progress of implementation.
“Further, cost escalations of the schemes are also taking place due to time overrun for delay in releasing payment to the executing agencies/contractors. Ministry of Power should consider timely release of fund to states for all the centrally sponsored schemes,” he added.
Earlier in his address as chairman of the NERPC, state power minister Comingone Ymbon said that all the NE states must urge the Government of India to give a special focus on the overall development of power sector in the region.
Stating that the region is facing some low voltages in several pockets, he said to address the problems, Capacitor Bank installation has to be put in place adding that the DPRs of Mizoram & Nagaland in this regard have been kept in low priority.
“We need to take this issue together very strongly with the Central Electricity Authority and the Ministry of Power,” Ymbon said while pointing out that the low voltage problems in Tripura also is a serious matter.
The Meghalaya power minister further emphasized the need to urge the Centre for funding from the Power System Development Fund (PSDF) to be made available for the North Eastern region.
He also highlighted that the difficulties faced by the North-East Transmission Company & Power Grid towards maintenance of the 400 KV D/C Pallatana – Silchar line is also a matter of concern since this is the only highway for evacuation of power from 726 MW OTPC, Pallatana Gas Based Power Plant of the North-Eastern Grid and export to other parts of the country as well.
According to him, any outage of this transmission line shall not only lead to constraint in evacuation of generation but also lead to acute power crisis in the region. Therefore, continuous and unhindered maintenance is of utmost importance.
By Our Reporter