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Northeast power ministers to meet PM on power deficit

Shillong, Aug 12 (IANS) Power ministers from the eight northeastern states Thursday decided to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the huge electricity deficit in the region.

‘We (power ministers) will go to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the common issues on power sector faced by the region,’ Meghalaya Power Minister A.T. Mondal told reporters after the concluding session of the two-day power ministers meeting here.

The ‘common issues’ including growing power deficit, delay in the commissioning of power projects, enhancement of natural gas from Rs.2,112.00 per 1,000 SCM (standard cubic metre) to Rs. 4,580 per SCM among others will also be raised before Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, he said.

Mondal, who is also the chairman of the North Eastern Regional Power Committee, said the power ministers would also raise the issue of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission diverting the North East Region Reactive Pool Fund for creating a power system development fund at the national level.

‘We are against the proposed move of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission to divert the North East Region Reactive Pool fund as the fund was contributed by the northeast states and we felt that it should be utilised for the development of the region,’ Mondal said.

He also said that the recent hike in petroleum products would surely have an impact on sustaining the two gas thermal projects in Tripura.

The northeast has the potential of producing 70,000 MW of power, enough to light up half of India, experts say.

But the region is reeling under power shortage due to slow development of new power projects. The region is producing power just two to three percent of its actual potential due to various bottlenecks.

Earlier, state-owned North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) chief and managing director I.P. Barooah advocated a uniform power policy for the eight northeastern states.

‘The region must think in terms of having a uniform hydel power policy so that the power sector can be developed in a coordinated manner,’ he said, adding Arunachal Pradesh alone has the potential of producing 50,000 MW of power, but most of the proposed hydel power projects here have hit roadblocks.

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