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At 32%, Meghalaya's power deficit highest in India

By The Assam Tribune

Shillong, Aug 2 (IANS): Once a power surplus State, Meghalaya today has earned the dubious distinction of having the highest electricity deficit in the country at 32 percent.

According to a quarterly Central Electricity Authority (CEA) report released recently, the figures for the April-June period showed that the Northeast State had a power demand of 281 MW but could generate only 190 MW -- a deficit of over 91 MW.

Power Minister AT Mondal told IANS that the deficit was due to growing demand for power in the State. Meghalaya spent about Rs 224 crore in purchasing power during 2009-10. "We hope private players will come forward to develop new projects to meet the power generation gap," he said.

Incidentally, the power deficit in the State during February-April 2010 was only 13.4 percent, the CEA report said.

Urging power developers to invest in Meghalaya to bridge the gap between demand and supply, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said on Saturday that the state's power policy is pro-investor and pro-people. "The State has a lot of potential to produce hydro and thermal power and there is a need to harness these resources," Sangma said.

The state has around 640 million tonnes of coal reserves which can be used for thermal power generation.

Till a decade ago, Meghalaya generated surplus power and sold it to neighbouring States. But today, the State shells out about Rs 20 crore for purchasing power every month. The situation may not improve in the near future as many of the hydel power projects under construction are running behind schedule.

The 126 MW Myntdu-Leshka project in Jaintia Hills district that was supposed to be commissioned this year has got delayed after it was damaged in a flash flood. "The first 42 MW unit of the project is now likely to be commissioned in February 2011," said the project's Chief Manager Elias Lyngdoh.

The second 42 MW unit is likely to be commissioned in May 2011, he added.

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