Mizoram CM criticises NTPC for not starting work on Kolodyne

 Accusing central agencies of neglecting North East, Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla today criticised power major NTPC for not starting any work on 460 MW Kolodyne project in the state for the last six years.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 18, 2014, 20:08 PM IST

Guwahati: Accusing central agencies of neglecting North East, Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla today criticised power major NTPC for not starting any work on 460 MW Kolodyne project in the state for the last six years.

Addressing the Infrastructure Conclave by industry chamber PHDCCI here, Thanhawla said the final action on ground matters the most instead of discourse, discussions, reports and recommendations.

"Sadly, on this count there is not much in the North East to write home about. Sometimes I get the feeling that central agencies give low priority to projects in this region.

"Or else how does one explain why the NTPC, after having signed MOU with Mizoram government about six years back for execution of the 460 MW Kolodyne HEP, has not done anything at all at the project site even today?" He added.

He, however, hoped NTPC will start the work after it seeks forest clearance.

"They put the blame on Central government for not getting environmental clearance," Thanhawla said, adding the initial scheduled completion period was five years from signing of the MOU.

When contacted, a NTPC spokesperson said Kolodyne is an important project for the company and "no low priority has been given" and alleged that the state government delayed the project by moving for forest clearance very slowly.

"The agreement for the project was signed in 2010 and NTPC immediately moved the proposal for forest clearance. It was only in March 2014 that the State Forest Department forwarded it to MOEF and now it is with inspection office in Shillong. NTPC is in touch with them for necessary compliances on regular basis," she added.

The Chief Minister also said Reliance Industries had won a bid to explore oil and gas in Southern Mizoram but the company did nothing and eventually the licence was cancelled.

Nobody has submitted financial bid for the 210 MW Tuivai hydel power project under PPP mode even after extension of deadline, he added.

"Tenders are floated for projects in Mizoram and mostly they are beyond the capacity of local players. Outside companies from Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and other places bid and win. But they don't know where Mizoram is, whether it is in China or Burma or what is its topography," Thanhawla said.

He said Mizoram was a power deficient state with a peak demand of 105 MW per day against generation of only around 15 MW.

"Mizoram has the potential of producing 3,500 MW of power... We have to maintain the balance between hydel and thermal power. A coherent policy for utilising the available thermal power sources has to be formulated and put into action on priority," Thanhawla said.

He urged the Centre to modify regulations so as to attract private sector investment in power production in NE.

"In the hill areas of the region, one of the power production strategies could be to harness hydel power potential through micro hydel generation. The terrain and environmental concerns support adoption of technology that is relatively simple, cheaper and readily available," he added.