File photo: Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma

Under pressure to control the current electricity crisis in Meghalaya, chief minister Conrad Sangma on March 9 blamed the previous Congress government in the state for its policies.

Sangma blamed the Congress government in Meghalaya in 2007 for signing a “lopsided” agreement with National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for the current power crisis in the state saying it’s like “hitting an axe on one’s feet.”

Speaking on the current electricity crisis, Sangma said the Congress government signed an agreement with NTPC in 2007 which bars the state to purchase power from other power companies.

“Based on the agreement signed, the NTPC is arm-twisting the state government not to buy power from other power companies,” Sangma said in the course of his reply to the motion on law and order situation in the state moved by opposition Congress legislator, Zenith Manda Sangma.

Meghalaya is witnessing acute electricity crisis as load-shedding in several areas continue to run for more than several hours.

The chief minister said, by invoking a clause under the agreement, NTPC has “stopped Meghalaya government by not allowing access of power from integrated command centre and from other power companies.”

“The state government has stopped taking power from the NTPC because under the agreement it has to purchase power at Rs. 5.7 per unit from the NTPC, which is much higher than market rate,” he informed the assembly.

He said that under the clauses of the agreement even if the state didn’t purchase power from NTPC, the state government has to pay a “fixed charge” of Rs 11 crore every month.

Under the agreement the then Congress government agreed that from the last unit that would be installed in NTPC’s thermal plant in Bongaigaon, (last unit installed in 2019) till the next 25 years this agreement would be valid.

“Till 2044 the Meghalaya government would be paying NTPC Rs 3325 crore ‘for nothing’ even if the state didn’t purchase power from NTPC,” Sangma said, adding that the agreement has put the “people of the state, the state government and the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited in this current mess.”

The chief minister said discussions are on with NTPC to sort out of this “unreasonable agreement.”

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