Meghalaya power minister dispels corruption charges in implementation of projects

It is time to set the records straight and to put a stop to any baseless allegations, arising from any form of petty politicking, said the power minister.

By Lamphrang Nongspung

SHILLONG:

Meghalaya Power Minister James PK Sangma on Thursday dispelled all the corruption charges leveled by the opposition Congress in the implementation of various power projects in the state.

The power minister stated that the NPP-led government is committed to accountability and transparency.

“It is time to set the records straight and to put a stop to any baseless allegations, arising from any form of petty politicking,” Sangma said.

Highlighting the NPP-led government's success in reducing power cuts in the state, the power minister said, a simple indicator of the current government’s success is shown by the fact that the state has been witnessing reduced power cuts ever since the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government came to power in 2018.

"We aspire to bring it to zero power cuts, and so far, we have been successful this year. We stay committed to ensuring every student studies not in the light of candles but under uninterrupted power," the power minister stated.

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GOVT TO GO FOR UNDERGROUND CABLING

To reduce unfortunate incidents of electrocution due to non-fencing of transformers or exposed wiring, Sangma informed that the government has decided to go for 100 per cent underground cabling in Shillong (East Khasi Hills), Tura (West Garo Hills) and Jowai (West Jaintia Hills).

"We have also decided to replace old wires with Aerial Bunched cables in rural areas in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Phase-II programme," he said.

JAMES ON IMPLEMENTATION OF ADB PROJECTS

On the allegations about the ADB projects, Sangma said misconstrued facts have been put out in the public domain to skew opinion.

"An ADB financing is primarily a loan given to the central government. The central government then functions as a guarantor for the loan, which is passed on to the state government as a grant from the central government," he explained.

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Sangma further clarified that the tendering process for the ADB projects was done as per the ADB guidelines adding that this is incidentally the same practice followed across all other states in India.

"All necessary approvals were taken from ADB for each and every step during the tendering process. Tenders were called through an online e-tendering portal through a transparent competitive bidding system," he said.

JAMES ON SMART METERS

Stressing on the need for smart meters in the state, the power minister said that while the old meters only worked in a prepaid configuration with no communication module, the new meters work in both prepaid and postpaid configurations.

Sangma said that the installation of smart meters will enhance the ease of usage for the customers adding that it will be connected to a central server with 24x7 communication enabled, ensuring that instances of customers receiving faulty bills are reduced.

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JAMES REACTS TO ALLEGATIONS ON IMPLEMENTATION OF SAUBHAGYA SCHEME

On the Saubhagya scheme, Sangma said that the two companies which were awarded the project took part in an online e-Tendering process as per the central government's guidelines.

"Companies were awarded the work only after due approval from the central government. All the prices quoted by the lowest bidders were verified by the central government agencies and after they approved the same, only then were the LOAs (Letter of Awards) issued by the state government," he said.

Under the Saubhagya Scheme, with the combined efforts of all contractors, 2,146 villages have been electrified in a record 1.5 years, with all registered users covered under the scheme, said the minister.

"This happened despite the stretched manpower due to the pandemic," Sangma added.

(Edited by Ibankyntiew Mawrie)

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