SHILLONG, Jan 3 � Despite having tremendous resources to develop hydel power projects, Meghalaya is yet to get suitable response from private power companies to build these projects.
The State Government has floated several Expression of Interests (EOIs) inviting private power companies to develop over 75 run-off-river mini hydro electric projects. However, there has been no response.
�Unfortunately there have been no takers to develop these mini hydel projects,� additional chief secretary in-charge of Power BK Dev Varma said.
The State Government estimates that by developing these mini hydel power projects the State would raise its power generation capacity by 567.91MW. Meghalaya generates currently 186.70 MW and has a share of 200 MW from Central utilities.
Varma said that it is unclear why the private companies have not come forward to develop these mini projects. �I really can�t say what is wrong and why the State has not been able to find bidders to develop these projects,� he said while guessing the terrain of the State could be one of the deterrents for the private companies not coming forward.
The additional chief secretary admitted that the terms and conditions in the EOIs aren�t that attractive for the investors. The State Government and the Department of Power would again sit and �rework� on the EOIs, he said.
The peculiar position that Meghalaya finds itself now is ironic because the State till a decade ago was surplus in power generation and also sold it to its neighbouring States, like Assam. Now, the State buys power during the lean seasons to the tune of Rs 20 crore every month.
Moreover, the State-owned Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) is under severe financial constraints and has to clear huge pending dues of around Rs 300 crore to the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO), National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NHPC) and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC).
NEEPCO has already regulated its power supply to Meghalaya following the non-clearance of outstanding dues.
The State, on the other hand, is developing several hydel power projects but these would take some time in commissioning. In fact, two such projects � the Mawphu Hydro Electric Project in East Khasi Hills and the Myntdu-Leshka Hydro Electric Project Stage-II in the West Jaintia Hills � are bogged down in controversies with Bangladesh opposing the work on these projects saying that it will affect the flow of water downstream.
The Mawphu project is being built by the NEEPCO on the Umiew river at an estimated cost of Rs 453.81 crore and would have a power generation capacity of 85 MW.