UDP and NCP ask Meghalaya govt to scrap power deal

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Shillong, Jul 12 (UNI) The Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government is likely to abandon the controversial power deals following its major allies' demand to invalidate the Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) with six power companies.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and United Democratic Party (UDP), the major allies of the MPA, have recommended the government to cancel the power projects initiated by the previous government.

The Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government had signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Jaypee Group, Dharampal Satyapal Group, ETA Star Infrastructure Ltd, Athena Project Private Ltd, Seven Sisters Energy Ltd and SEW Energy Ltd under the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) system for 40 years.

The six companies were given the responsibility to develop the Kynshi Stage-I, Kynshi Stage-II, Umngot, Leshka Stage-II, Umiew and Simsang Basin.

However, Various NGOs and political parties, including four Cabinet ministers in the previous government, had accused the Congress-led government of a ''total sellout'' of the state's interest by handing over the power projects to private companies.

''The UDP decided to oppose the power deals as per its commitment to the people during the Assembly polls,'' UDP MLA and Parliamentary Party spokesperson Ampareen Lyngdoh told UNI today.

Late last night, UDP MLAs held an emergent meeting at the residence of Chief Minister Donkupar Roy, urging the state government to scrap the ''shady'' power deals signed by the previous Congress-led government with private firms.

''We want the government to take stock of the state's power scenario in a transparent manner. The government should ensure that the common people derive the maximum benefits from any future agreements on power projects,'' Ms Lyngdoh said.

She, however, said a meeting of MPA would be convened on July 14 to know the views of all coalition partners on the power deals.

''We wanted the government to scrap the controversial power deal based on the commitment made by the party to the people of Meghalaya during the election,'' NCP state president Dr W R Kharlukhi told UNI here.

State Power Minister Conrad K Sangma said any decision on the MoAs signed between the government and private power developers would be taken keeping foremost the best interest of the state.

''The manner in which the deals were signed in haste had created doubts in the people's mind,'' Mr Sangma said.

In fact, soon after taking over from the Congress, the United Democratic Party-led MPA government served non-operational notices to six private power developers, asking them not to develop the projects signed with the previous government until further notices.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People's have shot off letters to the Chief Minister and all the Cabinet ministers, asking them to immediately scrap the ''dubious'' power deals.

''The Expression of Interest (EoI) floated by the state government in 2007 clearly mentions that only hydro-electric projects below 100 MW will be allotted to private developers. In the case of the seven projects, five of them are above 100 MW capacity,'' the FKJGP said in the letters.

UNI RRK DPM SS1237

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