MPA summons emergent meet on power projects

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Shillong, Jul 14 (UNI) Under pressure from its allies and civil society groups, the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance(MPA) government has summoned an emergency meeting late tonight to discuss scrapping of the six power projects inked with private companies.

Power Minister Conrad K Sangma has said the Cabinet will decide whether to abrogate or go ahead with the power deal.

However, MPA allies--the United Democratic Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement(KHNAM) and Hills State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP)--have demanded scrapping of the deal.

Chief Minister and UDP president Donkupar Roy, who is under pressure from his own party to scrap the deal, had recently held a deliberation on the issue with his party legislators where most of them felt that the power deal must be scrapped, irrespective of what the Cabinet feels.

Not only UDP, state NCP president W R Kharlukhi also suggested to the chief minister to abrogate the deal despite NCP MLA and the power minister saying that the cabinet will take a decision keeping the ''best interest of the state.'' In fact, soon after taking over from the Congress, the United Democratic Party-led MPA government had served non-operational notices to six private power developers, asking them not to develop the projects signed with the previous government in the state, until further notices.

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

The companies would develop the Kynshi Stage-I, Kynshi Stage-II, Umngot, Leshka Stage-II, Umiew and Simsang Basin.

However all the political parties--NCP, UDP, HSPDP, KHNAM and BJP--had accused the Congress of a 'total sellout' and demanded the deal be scrapped. These parties had made an election promise that if they were voted to power, the deal would be scrapped.

The MPA government had constituted an official committee to study the details of the MOUs. The committee submitted its report to Dr Roy last week.

Various NGOs and 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.

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