HC wants govt to ensure power supply to essential services

'State ought to give an adequate answer'

Shillong, May 5: High Court of Meghalaya on Friday wanted the state government to ensure power supply to institutions dealing with essential services including hospitals.

In response to a PIL filed by Flaming B Marak, the division bench comprising chief justice (Sanjib Banerjee and judge T Diengdoh asked the state government to file affidavits to indicate alternative arrangements for essential services like hospitals,airports and key installations.


The petitioner complained  of rampant power cuts in the state and he arbitrary load-shedding that has been resorted to by the government.

Advocate P.T. Sangma moved the PIL on behalf of the petitioner.

“Ironically, even while the order is being dictated, the power supply to this Court has been interrupted. The power has resumed within a few second, but it may be a sign that the state ought to give an adequate answer”, the court said.

It was submitted on behalf of the second respondent ,Chairman of the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited that the monthly demand of power is to the extent of 200 million units and the availability is only 88 million units.

According to the second respondent, such shortfall is because of a power plant in Tripura being shut down for technical reasons and the state is finding no alternative source for power.

“Electricity is no longer a luxury. It is the State’s responsibility to ensure that there is adequate availability of electricity as per demand and plans should be in place to meet the increased future demands”, the court said.

Indeed, it is also open to the state to buy power from the open grid and enter into arrangements with power companies, several of whom operate in the North-East, to ensure that adequate electricity is available to the citizens, subject to the cost  being met by the citizens, the order said.

The state and the MeECL will file independent affidavits to indicate the immediate, the short-term and the long-term measures and projections of demand and plan of action during accidental shutdown of any power plant and alternative sources that may be available”, the court said

Dues of NTPC 

“It may be indicated in this context that in a matter pending before this Court, the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited has made a huge claim running into several hundreds of crores against the state for the state having entered into an agreement to draw a minimum guaranteed amount of electricity per year, but ultimately failing to obtain the same”, the court observed

“Affidavits be filed within a fortnight from date .The affidavits should also indicate equitable distribution of load-shedding hours and the alternative arrangements made for essential services like hospitals,airports and key installations”, the court asserted.

The matter will appear after three weeks, on May 30.

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