SHILLONG: The issue of prolonged power cuts in Meghalaya is likely to persist as Power Minister Abu Taher Mondal has conceded that the government has a significant outstanding amount to pay power utilities, including the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
“The dues keep compounding, and we aim to come out of this situation,” he told the press during a briefing in Shillong, on Tuesday.
Detailing the efforts of the government to clear the pilling dues, Mondal shared that out of a debt of approximately Rs 488 crore, the government has managed to pay off half, Rs 244 crore, using the Atmanirbhar loan.
He, however, noted that currently they are facing significant monthly penalties of Rs 8 crore to be paid to the NTPC.
Expressing urgency, Mondal confirmed the state’s robust action plan to neutralise the dues promptly. “The objective is to ensure we don’t revisit past challenges, particularly extended power outages that affected our citizens,” he told the press.
The state’s power plan includes a two-hour daily power cut, which Mondal explained as a way to return borrowed power to other utilities.
He highlighted the state’s heavy dependence on hydroelectricity, with most power purchases from central utilities also relying on hydro sources, except for a few thermal projects. “Rainfall is essential for our state to achieve optimal power generation,” Mondal stressed.
In a silver lining, Mondal expressed relief over the government’s initiative of reclaiming about 53 MW of power previously allocated to Uttarakhand.
The minister exuded hope about retrieving the 35.3 MW supplied to Tamil Nadu. “Reclaiming these power capacities is strategic, especially during our lean periods,” he affirmed.
The Power Minister further elaborated on the broader challenges, pointing out that the recent natural disaster in Sikkim and subsequent disruptions in power generation on the Teesta River have not only strained the national power landscape but also escalated power prices.