No move to privatise MeECL: James Sangma

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Slamming the opposition Congress, Power Minister, James K Sangma told Meghalaya News 24 that there is no move to privatize the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) even as he accused the opposition Congress of trying to “politicize” issues related to the corporation.

This came as a reaction to the recent protest staged by the Coordination Committee of Registered MeECL (Employees) Associations and Unions (CCORMAU) against the centre’s move for the privatization of distribution companies (Discoms) across the country.

Sangma told reporters that it is not privatizing the Discoms but is about distribution licensees where Discoms can sublet their licenses to others.

According to him, nothing has been finalized yet right now as it is still in the preliminary stages.

“I think a lot of people are misunderstanding the whole thing but it is not about the privatization of the corporation and it is not that MeECL is going to be privatized, that is not there. When clarity is there, I am sure most of the fears will be allayed,” the minister said.

On-demand that the state government should take steps to save MeECL from collapsing, Sangma said that the crisis in the MeECL was not born just yesterday but has been growing and accumulating over the past many years.

Stating that this is something which one cannot expect a quick fix solution to, he said, “We cannot expect a solution can come and resolve all the challenges and the issues that are presently plaguing the MeECL.”

The power minister however said that the department is working tirelessly towards finding solutions particularly the problems related to the aggregate technical & commercial (AT&C) losses.

“If we were to bring down these losses then we would see the revenue would phenomenally jump and once we bring about these changes and reduce the AT&C losses by these interventions that we are putting in right now in terms of improving the distribution network by coming about by installing new substations, transformers- so all these kinds of interventions will help in the reduction of AT&C losses which will in other ways improve the efficiency and improve the revenue generation of MeECL,” he pointed.

Admitting that salary payment is a big concern for the government, Sangma said, “We are very concerned about making sure that we do manage to pay the salaries and MeECL I am sure they are working overnight to ensure that but the problems are there no doubt about that and these problems have been accumulating for so many years.”

He however reiterated that once measures are in place to bring down the AT&C losses, such problems will be resolved to a great extent.

Taking a jibe at the Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma for accusing the government of using MeECL as ‘milch cow’, the power minister said very, unfortunately, the leader of the opposition is trying to ‘politicize’ issues and makeup issues just for the sake of it.
“Using MeECL as a milch cow is a baseless allegation, it is just a common phrase that he (Mukul) is using which he may have read recently but then this is not the way to do things. If you do make positive criticism or construction criticism, we appreciate it but these kinds of baseless accusations and allegations, I think it is a big waste of time for everybody,” he said.

The power minister also hit back at the opposition for its lack of appreciation despite the many positive interventions taken up by the MeECL. “The MeECL has done a lot of good work over the past few months but these are not being appreciated by the opposition,” he stated.