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Palatana shutdown only an excuse: BJP

By Correspondent

SILCHAR, May 29 � The BJP has criticised the �sloppy approach� of the State Government in finding a solution to the ongoing power crunch in the Barak Valley. The party State spokesperson, Dr Rajdeep Roy has said that the government was well aware of the problems at the Palatana power plant, yet it chose to take no action for any solution.

�The pertinent question here is that whether the Assam Government had received any prior notice regarding the shutdown of the Palatana plant. If any such notice had been received, why the government did not make any alternative arrangement,� Dr Roy said. �While the people are groping under acute power crisis, the zero production at Palatana is just an excuse dished out by the State Government,� he added.

The BJP leader has also thrown a few questions to the Congress-led government in the State saying that there were two gas-based thermal plants in the Barak Valley � the 9-MW unit at Adamtilla and the 15-MW unit at Banskandi. Though the Adamtilla unit closed down in 2010 after the ONGC gas well there totally stopped production, the Banskandi unit was shut down mainly due to payment dispute. The Banskandi unit, however, had a little reserve of gas to continue power supply.

If the Congress government is so concerned about the plight of the people here, then why the natural resources were wasted in such a manner and what prevented the settlement of payment dispute, he asked.

Further, Dr Roy slammed former Union Minister Santosh Mohan Dev saying that in 2009, BHEL, the Power Finance Corporation and the Government of Assam had signed a memorandum of understanding for setting up of a 250-MW thermal power plant at Digorkhal in Cachar district at an investment of Rs 1,000 crore. But the project remained a non-starter.

The Barak Valley requires only 110 MW of power daily, and as such, the rest 140 MW could have been supplied to the other districts of the State, he said, adding, �it was just a political gimmick before the general election of 2009.�

The BJP State spokesperson also highlighted the status of gas exploration by the ONGC which is by and large elbowed into the cold room. Moreover, expressing concern over completion of the 50-MW power station at Sildubi in Cachar district with a three-year target, he said that if proper vigilance is not there, it may also remain a non-starter.

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