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Congress in ‘hangover’ mode says NPP spokesperson

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Shillong, Nov 19: The National People’s Party (NPP) today said that the recent allegations of the Congress are heavily ‘unfounded’ considering all their queries were answered systematically during the Assembly session.

In a statement issued by the NPP media cell, spokesperson of the party Marcuise Marak said, “It seems to us that they are in a hangover of having lost the no-confidence motion on which they so heavily banked upon to attack the government. Considering their misfortune of having proven themselves wrong, the Congress has reached record lows of trying to find fresh issues to stay relevant in politics, without thinking of the welfare of the people of the state”.

On allegations flaked by the Congress in the Power Department, Marak said, “During the Assembly session, with regards to power, George B. Lyngdoh brought to notice that people in rural areas have non-functional electric meters which leads to average billing being done for them. He stated that consumers are not aware and hence there must be an exercise from the Department to check into faulty defective meters, which lead to consumers getting billed. He had also brought into the notice of the government the high electricity bills of consumers due to non-functional meters”.

Marak said that Minister-in-charge James Sangma replied, that to solve this long-standing issue, the Government is looking to improve the billing efficiency in the State and one way of doing that is through the introduction of smart meters. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has financed this project through which there will be the introduction of smart meters by which 100 percent billing efficiency will be achieved. For the lockdown period, James Sangma also notified that delayed payment charges of consumers were also being waived off.

“To be clear, this issue is not recent and has persisted for a long time now. We questioned the Congress many times before when they were in the ruling party. However, even during those long-gone days, neither did they respond to our questions nor did they bring any solutions. It is hypocritical of them to bring this issue up now when they themselves worsened the situation without providing any resolution. The NPP-led MDA government stays committed to showing the path on how to bring billing efficiency through the smart meter project,” Marak added.

The release also stated that the NPP-led government stays committed to solving all these issues at the earliest possible and therefore the government sees the smart meter project as a revolutionary one for power efficiency in the state. More so, smart meters will also have prepaid capabilities. “Such discussions and implementation never happened before during Congress’s time, which evidently struggled to provide basic power facilities to the people. Moreover, despite sufficient clarifications, another Congress MLA Zenith Sangma took the opportunity to not show mature leadership in the Assembly sessions, by asking another clarification on the fact why did the government not waive off delayed payment charges (DPC) for consumers but did the same for industrial areas”.

Marak informed through the release that the Power Minister replied that waiving of DPC is applicable to both domestic as well as industrial consumers. “DPC is part of One Time Settlement (OTS) Scheme given to industries. Domestic consumers have a smaller DPC in comparison to industries and as such, the industries got a waiver of the DPC to overcome outstanding dues. The facts stated by the power minister in this regard were basic facts, which any well-learned person would ideally know. For a legislator like Zenith Sangma to be raising such questions in the Assembly and wasting the time of the house, unfortunately, reflects poor understanding on the stewardship of time”, he added.

On allegation by Congress MLA Zenith Sangma on the Ganol small hydro project, Marak said, “The Ganol project is a project which the Congress had initiated by promising uninterrupted power supply to the people, but were never ever on track to complete it despite assuring everyone that they would do so by February 2018. We would like to disregard any questions raised by the Congress in this matter, where most of their facts are ill-informed”.

On allegation in Saubhagya Scheme Marak said, “Despite the government repeatedly issuing all necessary clarifications to the Congress, the party continues to beat the drum of corruption with regards to the Saubhagya Scheme. To be clear, the Congress in its term did not even try to bring this scheme to the people of Meghalaya, despite knowing that such a scheme would be beneficial to all the people of the state, especially the economically vulnerable”.

Marak further added that the Congress is a party which is known to have defaulted on multiple accounts when it concerns fulfilling promises made to the people. “For such a party to act high handed and talk of corruption is highly ironical. We believe that the party would do well to inform itself better and then bring issues up, rather than trying to cover up the stench of their past, which appears to be biting them as of now”, Marak asserted in the release.

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