Meghalaya Cabinet to discuss power projects

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Shillong, Jan 6 (UNI) The Meghalaya Cabinet will meet this week to discuss the demand of several organisations to stop giving power projects to private companies in the state.

Official sources said here today that though state Chief Minister D D Lapang was yet to fix the date for the proposed Cabinet meeting, Cabinet Minister Paul Lyngdoh confirmed that the meeting would review the December seven decision to hand over five power projects to private companies.

The proposed meeting assumed significance in the wake of strong opposition from Mr Lapang's colleagues.

Meanwhile, the Khasi Students' Union, which has opposed the deal, called for a series of agitations, starting tomorrow. It would protest march to urge the Congress-led state government to scrap the Cabinet's decision to hand over six hydro-power projects to private companies.

KSU president Samuel Jyrwa said the students' body had decided to go ahead with its road blockade from 0005 hours to 1700 hours tomorrow followed by a 12-hour bandh on January nine in East and West Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi district.

The road blockade would also affect the National Highway 40 and 44, connecting the southern part of Assam, Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur, he said.

Mr Lyngdoh, a former KSU leader-turned-minister, admitted that the Cabinet had overlooked the fact that as per the state power policy, any power project of 100 MW should only be handed over to private firms through international competitive bidding.

''On December seven, the Cabinet took the decision in the absence of the majority of the ministers,'' Mr Lyngdoh told newspersons, adding that the December three Cabinet meeting approved amendments to the power policy without even giving time to study them and another Cabinet meeting was hurriedly called just four days later to decide handing over of the power projects to private companies.

Mr Lyngdoh alleged that a clause, which was more favourable to private companies, was inserted in the new power policy at the last moment without any discussion on it.

Earlier, the Chief Minister had said he would consult his Cabinet colleagues before taking a decision on the deal.

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