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Power dept always backed MeECL, totally opposed idea of Distribution Franchisee: James

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Shillong, June 8: Stressing that the power department has made it very clear right from the beginning that 100 percent budgetary provision and state guarantee should be given to Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) by the state government, State Power Minister, James K. Sangma on Tuesday stated that the power department is totally opposed to the idea of Distribution Franchisee (DF) as MeECL would stand to lose in the long run.

At the same time, he also expressed confidence that the MeECL is capable of managing its distribution circles and creating a turn-around in the near future.

“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 and we do not need to give to the DF,” he said. He also shared that the chief minister has assured to look into this matter.

This meeting comes a day ahead of the crucial sitting of the state Cabinet to take a final call on whether to give 100 percent state guarantee for the Rs 1,345 loan or handover the management of some of the distribution circles to the Rural Electrification Corporation Power Distribution Company (REC-PDCL).

Expressing optimism that the MeECL will see an active turn around in the future, James said, “I have assured the chief minister that the MeECL will be moving in that direction as one united team to achieve the goal of turning around the MeECL.”

A delegation of the MeECL employees led by its Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Arunkumar Kembhavi on Tuesday met the Power Minister to seek his intervention to ensure that outsourcing of the distribution circles is avoided.

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.

Should it take place, Meghalaya will be the first state to have given the distribution circles as distribution franchisee under the Atmanirbhar loan and no other states have been imposed with such conditions by the union government, he said.

Plan to turn-around MeECL’s fortune

The power minister claimed that the turn-around of MeECL is already in the process as 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 into use for distribution sector system improvement, for improvement in generation.

“So all these kinds of interventions which have been put in place are the turn around that we are talking about – the cogs in the wheel are already in motion. We need time as no turn around can take place immediately. This sort of motion will bear results and we hope that it will happen soon and that is why I have been assured by the engineers of MeECL, by the CMD that they will be able to achieve this turn around as it is already in motion,” he said.

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