KSU activists demand scrapping of power projects deal

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Shillong, Jan 7 (UNI) Hundreds of Khasi Students' Union (KSU) activists today took to the streets demanding that the Meghalaya government scrap its decision to hand over hydro power projects to private companies.

Terming the handing over of the projects ''total sellout of the state's interest,'' the KSU had decided to intensify its agitation by sponsoring a two-day office picketing tomorrow in East and West Khasi Hills districts, besides Ri-Bhoi district of the state.

Last month, the state cabinet approved to strike a joint venture deal with--Jaypee Group, Dharampal Satyapal Group, ETA Star Infrastructure Limited, Athena Project Private Limited, Seven Sisters Energy Limited and SEW Energy Limited-- under Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) system for 40 years.

The six power projects are Kynshi Stage-I, Kynshi Stage-II, Umngot, Leshka Stage-II, Umiew and Simsang Basin.

''We are not against development of power projects in the state.

But we are against the state cabinet's hasty and controversial decision to hand over the projects to private companies,'' KSU President Samuel Jyrwa said.

Mr Jyrwa, who led the protest march today reiterating their demand to scrap the deal, also threatened to intensify agitation further in the state if the government failed to scrap the deal.

''This is just the beginning. We will continue to agitate till our demands are met,'' the KSU leader stated.

Not just the KSU, six Cabinet Ministers had also opposed the government's decision and signed a letter of protest addressed to the Chief Minister expressing their concern over the Cabinet's decision to hand over the power projects to private parties.

''On December 7, the Cabinet took the decision in the absence of majority of the ministers,'' Urban Affairs Minister Paul Lyngdoh told reporters, adding that the December 3 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 amended power policy at the last moment without any discussion on it.

Chief Minister D D Lapang had earlier said he would consult his cabinet colleagues before taking a decision on the deal.

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