SHILLONG, March 23: Meghalaya Home Minister Lakhmen Rymbui today admitted that the ongoing power crisis in the State has “disturbed normal life”. But he categorically stated that there is no move to reshuffle the Cabinet in the aftermath of the crisis.
“This power crisis has disturbed normal life...the Chief Minister has discussed the issue with power generating companies,” Rymbui added.
Asked if there is a move to drop Power Minister James Sangma for alleged mismanagement in the State Power Department, Rymbui said that there has been no such discussion within the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) Government.
“Within our party too, we have not discussed this issue (of dropping the Power Minister). The MDA coalition committee is the right forum to take up such discussions,” the Home Minister pointed out.
Rymbui belongs to the United Democratic Party, a coalition partner in the MDA headed by the NPP.
The Home Minister added that if any issue merits discussion, the MDA coordination committee would certainly take it up.
However, Rymbui admitted that the power crisis is affecting everyone, and that the State Government is trying to find ways to resolve the issue. The Power Minister has thoroughly explained the crisis, he added.
Stating that the crisis is not a recent phenomenon as it has lingered on from the past, Rymbui slammed the Central Public Sector Undertakings such as the NTPC and the NEEPCO for “arm-twisting the State Government”.
He said the Meghalaya Government is not shying away from paying the outstanding dues of the power generating companies, but he indicated that these companies should have provided some leeway to the State Government instead of regulating power supply.
Both the NTPC and the NEEPCO have regulated power supply to the State for non-clearance of dues by the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeCL). This has led to load shedding in the State.
The State Government has bailed out the MeCL by paying a part of the outstanding dues from the Atmanirbhar loan received from the Centre. However, the NEEPCO has said that all its outstanding dues should be paid by April 30.
Rymbui stated that the Chief Minister should take this issue of power generating companies arm-twisting the Government seriously and hold discussions for remedial measures.
“The State Government is trying...we have to review and find ways and means,” the Home Minister maintained.
Rymbui, who also holds the Education portfolio, said he feels sorry for students who are appearing in examinations.