Northeast power projects given lower priority: Lal Thanhawla
Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla today lamented that power projects in the Northeast were accorded lower priority by the central agencies and charged NTPC with doing nothing on the 460MW Kolodyne Hydro-Electric Project.
Guwahati/Aizawl: Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla today lamented that power projects in the Northeast were accorded lower priority by the central agencies and charged NTPC with doing nothing on the 460MW Kolodyne Hydro-Electric Project.
Addressing the North East Infrastructure Conclave held in Guwahati, Lal Thanhawla wondered why the NTPC, after having signed an MoU with the Mizoram government about six years back for execution of the 460MW Kolodyne HEP, had not done anything at all at the project site.
He, however, hoped NTPC would start the work after it seeks forest clearance.
"They put the blame on Central government for not getting environmental clearance," Lal Thanhawla said, adding the initial scheduled completion period was five years from signing of the MOU.
When contacted, a NTPC spokesperson said Kolodyne was an important project for the company and "no low priority has been given" and blamed the state government for delaying 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," the spokesperson said.
The chief minister said that the region was endowed with vast power potential, particularly hydro-power, estimated to be over 63,000 MW which is around 40 per cent of the country?s total potential.
The entire region was deficient of power due to the fact that so far only three per cent of the potential has been harnessed, he said.
"There is a huge mismatch between peak demand and peak availability," he said.
In states like Mizoram even domestic demand, not to speak of industrial or commercial enterprises, could not be fully met, he lamented.
The national target of generating 88,000 MW of power during the 12th Plan would be difficult to achieve without raising the level of exploiting the dormant potential of the Northeast region substantially.
"The Center and the States of the region will have to jointly make serious efforts to harness at least half of the 89 per cent untapped potential (55,500MW) of the region over the next ten years, he said.
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," Lal Thanhawla said.
He urged the Center to modify regulations so as to attract private sector investment in power production in NE.