Power game: James terms UDP’s demand as ‘Misdirected’

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Shrugging off his responsibility after being accused of failing to manage the Power sector, Power Minister James K Sangma on Friday termed the demand of the United Democratic Party (UDP) to relieve him from the post as “misdirected”.

 According to him, the blame should be directed at the past governments who are responsible for the outstanding power dues and signing of faulty power purchase agreements (PPAs).

 The UDP in its letter to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma recently alleged mismanagement of the power department and demanded that the incumbent power minister and CMD of MeECL be relieved from their current positions.

 Speaking to media persons, Sangma said that he shared the concerns of the UDP and its leaders that the public especially the students are facing a lot of challenges during examination times every time the electricity goes off.

 “I appreciate the fact that they are bringing this to light and they are speaking about it but I would like to say that their concerns are very genuine but their approach is very misdirected,” he said.

 “It should not be directed at the government (of the day) but it should be directed…at those people who are responsible for these outstanding dues which have accumulated over the years,” he added.

 The power minister also said that the blame should be directed towards those who are responsible for signing faulty PPAs which have suddenly put the state in this kind of situation.

 “We have to direct it at those who promised Rs 844 crore and failed to keep that commitment resulting in the fact that MeECL had to spend Rs 712 crore from their own pocket to cater to the terminal benefits.

 This kind of approach should have been directed towards those kinds of people but not at the government of the day,” he stated.

 Stating that one cannot expect that the solution can be arrived at within a short period of 2-3 years, Sangma said, “What we need is to work collectively. The government is trying its best to find solutions that are there but then we need the support of the public. It cannot just be us doing our bid.”

 On Thursday, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong had appreciated the approach adopted by the UDP and informed that the CM is likely to convene a meeting of the MDA coordination committee to discuss the issue after the GHADC polls, to be held on April 12.

Earlier, NEEPCO regulated Power supply in the state after the Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL) failed to clear outstanding dues of Rs 504.41 crore. Prior to this NTPC too regulated the Power supply.  Continuing its blame game, the Government claimed previous dues and faulty power agreement as the main cause of this but the documents available always says a different tale.