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Power minister, dept against outsourcing of MeECL work    

Shillong, June 8: Power Minister James Sangma is against Rural Electrification Corporation Power Distribution Company (RECPDCL) taking over the power distribution.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday after a meeting with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, he expressed confidence that the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) will be able to manage its distribution circles and create a turnaround in near future.

He said the power department is opposed to the idea of distribution franchisee to RECPDCL as MeECL would stand to lose in the long run.

“I have met the chief minister and I have once again stressed upon and urged upon him to look at the fact that the MeECL is very much capable of managing these distribution circles,” he said.

The statement comes a day ahead of the cabinet meeting to decide as to whether to give 100 percent state guarantee for the Rs 1,345 loan or handover the management of some of the distribution circles to RECPDCL.

According to James, the power department has made it clear right from the beginning that 100 percent budgetary provision and state guarantee should be given to MeECL by the state government.

He also informed a delegation of the MeECL employees led by its Chairman-cum-Managing Director Arunkumar Kembhavi requested his intervention to ensure that outsourcing of the distribution circles is avoided.

“The chief minister assured me that he will definitely look into this matter and before we come to a decision, we will take up this matter tomorrow in the meeting and discuss with our cabinet colleagues,” James said.

To a question, James claimed that the turn-around is something which is already in the process. He said there are several EAPs, ADB funded projects, World Bank funded projects, JICA funded projects, centrally sponsored schemes by the government of India which are already in the stage of implementation and these schemes have been put to use for distribution sector system improvement, for improvement of generation.

James said he discussed the matter with the engineers of the MeECL and they have assured support.

The CMD of MeECL said the additional condition of 25 percent distribution franchisee was put by the REC and PFC as they felt that the MeECL, whose annual revenue is Rs 900 crore, will not be able to repay the Rs 1,345 crore loan.

“Meghalaya would have been the first state to give the distribution circles under the Atma Nirbhar loan and no other states have been imposed with such conditions by the union government, he added.

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