New Delhi, May 5 : Minister of State for Power and Commerce Jairam Ramesh today stressed on the need for the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) to establish and expand thermal power capacities in the northeastern states.
Ramesh was in favour of reviewing the functioning of NEEPCO in Shillong, as the north-eastern states were overly dependent on hydel projects..
This central government public sector enterprise set up in 1976. It has an installed capacity of around 1130 MW, which meets around 60 per cent of the energy needs of the eight northeastern states.
NEEPCO has embarked on an ambitious expansion programme and has six projects in hand that are expected to add an additional 1380 MW in the XI Plan period by 2012. In addition, another six projects with a capacity of 3000 MW are under examination.
Ramesh said India needs more hydel projects while the northeastern region needs more gas-based and coal-based capacity. In this connection, he welcomed the proposal made by NEEPCO to the Assam government for a joint venture to set up a 480 MW coal-based power project based on the state's Margherita coal reserves and also the proposal made by NEEPCO to the Meghalaya government to set up a 500 MW coal-based project based on the state's Garo Hills coal reserves.
He expressed confidence that the two state governments would soon approve these proposals made by NEEPCO.
While appreciating the pioneering role played by NEEPCO in the most difficult of geological and political circumstances in the region, Ramesh exhorted NEEPCO to think creatively about joint ventures with private companies, particularly with those private companies which have taken over hydel projects in Arunachal Pradesh for which NEEPCO had originally done the DPRs.
These projects include the 160 MW Talong hydel project which has been taken over by the GMR Group, the 125 MW Dibbin hydel project and the 600 MW Kameng Dam hydel project both of which have been taken over by KSK Ventures.
Ramesh also said that NEEPCO should work closely with institutions like IIT, Guwahati, the Northeastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong and IIT, Roorkee in different areas like geology, IT and environment.
He also suggested the formation of an external environment advisory group by NEEPCO so as to build greater confidence in civil society about its commitment to ecological issues and concerns.
While welcoming the appointment of a regular CMD for NEEPCO after a gap of two years, Ramesh said that NEEPCO should plan for an IPO sometime in the first half of 2009 and promised his full support to the proposal to upgrade NEEPCO to a schedule A PSU.
V.K. Abbey, Executive Director in NHPC presently has been appointed as NEEPCO's CMD and Ramesh expressed his confidence that Abbey would base himself in Shillong full-time and provide leadership to the organisation.