GUWAHATI, June 1 � The worsening power scenario in the State has further been impacted by the �sudden and unwarranted restriction� imposed by the Centre on the ER-NER power corridor � the sole power grid connection linking the north-eastern States with the rest of India � and on which the region is largely dependent for supply of up to 720 MW power.
Addressing the media, State Power Minister Pradyut Bardoloi levelled this serious allegation against the Centre and said that the restriction substantially reduced power supply to Assam through the lifeline.
�All the north-eastern States including Assam are solely dependent on this power corridor, and Assam has been regularly procuring 350-400 MW power additionally. Now transaction up to only 290 MW is allowed over this line,� he said.
Equating the Centre�s move with imposing �an economic blockade�, Bardoloi said that the matter had been taken up with the Union Power Ministry. �Ironically, the Centre�s move came on the day in which the BJP-led NDA Government assumed office on May 26,� he added.
Bardoloi also urged State BJP leader Sarbananda Sonowal � now a minister in the Modi Cabinet � to use his good office to get the Centre�s move rescinded and the power corridor�s earlier status restored.
On the State�s deplorable power situation, Bardoloi said that matters worsened following the closure of the Kapili hydel project due to technical problems. �Things should improve with the Palatana (Tripura) project set to restart following a maintenance shutdown from tomorrow,� he added.
Underscoring the need for harnessing hydro power for ensuring long-term power sufficiency in the State, Bardoloi further criticized the BJP, saying that the then Union Water Resource Minister Bijoya Chakravarty favoured the Lower Subansiri Hydro Electric Project before making a volte face later while in the Opposition.
�Now Sonowal should make clear his party�s stand on the issue. Similarly, the All Assam Students� Union, which has also been pursuing a vague stand on the Lower Subansiri project, should take a definite stand,� he said.