SHILLONG, Sept 30 (IANS) - The Meghalaya government has suggested a North Eastern Council (NEC), a regional planning body for the region, to invest in hydel projects and power transmission.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who attended the 59th NEC plenary meeting chaired by Central minister BK Handique, said the rich hydro-power potential of the North-East in general and Meghalaya in particular should be exploited properly to feed the power-starved region.
Meghalaya Governor RS Mooshahary, who also took part in the meeting attanded by Chief Ministers and Governors of northeastern states, urged the NEC to step in to meet the power requirments in the region.
Meghalaya, he said, generates only 186.70 MW and has a share of 200 MW from Central utilities. He added that the state can draw about a fourth of such supply mainly due to transmission problems.
Sangma urged the NEC to fund heavily both ongoing and proposed inter-state transmission lines.
Meghalaya, once a power-surplus state, 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, 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.
Urging the the NEC to improving road, rail and air communication in the landlocked hill state, the Chief Minister said the Baljek Airport in West Garo Hills district was still not operational though the President inaugurated it two years ago.
Expansion and modernisation of Shillong Airport was still awaited, he added.
He said Meghalaya had also asked the NEC to fund more roads to improve road connectivity in the state.
He also wanted massive investment on the 437-km Pancharatna-Badrapur railway line, amounting to Rs 1,600 crore.