Change in funding pattern: NE power ministers tell Centre

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HT Correspondent

SHILLONG, OCT 11: Expressing concern over lack of development in the power sector, power ministers from seven sister states on Wednesday demanded change in the present pattern of funding by the union government.

Addressing the 18th North East Regional Power Committee (NERPC) conference here on Wednesday, Meghalaya power minister Comingone Ymbon said that all the NE states must urge the union government 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 and 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 and 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.

Echoing similar opinion, 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) and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY).

He informed that the Tripura government 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 and quality power was submitted but sanction received was only Rs 74.24 crore which is 14.55% of the total requirement.

In his address, Nagaland power minister C Kipili Sangtam said, “It is high time that all the NE states join hands to approach the ministry of power and ministry of renewable energy to change the present pattern of funding.”

Sangtam said that all the NE states are facing problem due to shortfall in funding towards the ongoing power projects. The region being development deficit states, Sangtam said therefore it is felt that the Centre should give preference to NE states while framing policy, funding and action plan of power projects.

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