Meghalaya puts power deal with companies on hold

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Shillong, Jan 18 (UNI) Meghalaya Cabinet today put on hold the memoranda of agreements (MoAs) signed between the state government and six power companies, and has constituted an official committee to examine ''in depth merits and demerits'' of the MoAs.

Chief Minister D D Lapang said the Cabinet, attended by seven Ministers, unanimously agreed that the official committee would examine questions raised by some Ministers and NGOs on the MOAs.

Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee would head the official committee, besides other senior government officials as its members, the Chief Minister informed.

When asked whether ''in depth'' study of the MOAs and ''credentials of the companies'' meant the High Powered Committee on Power did things in ''haste'' to broke the deal, Mr Lapang avoided a direct reply, but said, ''let the official committee come up with its report.'' Deputy Chief Minister Mukul M Sangma, in-charge Power, headed the High Powered Committee on Power. The committee on December 7 recommended the Cabinet to sign the agreements with the six private companies.

Under the MOAs, the state entered into a joint venture to develop power projects with Jaypee Group, Dharampal Satyapal Group, ETA Star Infrastructure Ltd, Athena Project Private Ltd, Seven Sisters Energy Ltd and SEW Energy Ltd, without going for International Competitive Bidding (ICB).

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

Four ministers protested saying they did not get enough time to study the MOAs and signed a letter of protest to the CM, which included Paul Lyngdoh, Minister in-charge Urban Affairs.

''We are happy with today's Cabinet decision,'' Mr Lyngdoh said after the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary said that the committee would submit its report as soon as possible.

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