Meghalaya govt all set to abrogate power projects

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Shillong, Jul 15 (UNI) Coalition partners of the ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance government have recommended the Cabinet to abrogate the Memorandum of Agreements inked with six private power developers in the state.

The coalition partners of the United Democratic Party-led government took a consensus decision to scrap the controversial power deal during the emergent MPA parliamentary meeting late last night.

''The deals were signed by the previous government in an undemocratic manner and therefore they needed to be scrapped,'' state Urban Affairs Minister and MPA Spokesperson Paul Lyngdoh told reporters here.

Mr Lyngdoh said after scrapping the deals, the government would review the prevailing power crisis in the state.

''Any future agreement on the power projects would be carried out in a transparent manner,'' he said.

''The Power Minister has briefed us all on the present power scenario, but nonetheless the Cabinet will take a consensus decision July 22,'' he said.

State Power Minister Conrad K Sangma said any decision on the deals would be taken collectively and with consensus.

''The interest of the state and the people would be foremost in coming to a decision on the deals signed,'' he added.

''There are difficulties the state government has to face once the deals are scrapped. One problem is the legal complications once the private companies approach the court after the scrapping of the deals and another is the prolonged power shortage the state has to face,'' Mr Sangma said.

''It is better to face legal problems once the deals are scrapped rather than facing agitations by the NGOs,'' Mr Sangma said.

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

The Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government had signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Jaypee Group, Dharampal Satyapal Group, ETA Star infrastructure Limited, Athena Project Private Limited, Seven Sisters Energy Limited and SEW Energy Limited 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.

The Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People's and Khasi Student's Union demanded outright scrapping of the power deal and claimed that the previous government did not follow the procedures of international competitive bidding before signing the memorandum of understanding.

Not only NGOs, even four Cabinet ministers, including Congress 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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