Northeast states need uniform power policy: NEEPCO chief

Shillong, July 31 (IANS) State-owned North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) chief and managing director I.P. Barooah Saturday 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 at a conference on ‘EM-powering North East’, jointly organised by the Meghalaya government and the Indian Chamber of Commerce here.

‘There is a need to have a separate power policy for the interest of the people of the region,’ Barooah, chief of NEEPCO, the premier regional power generating agency, said.

Stating that the region has the potential to ‘light up half of India’ with its huge power potential, he said the northeast as a whole has the potential of producing about 70,000 MW of power.

‘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,’ he said.

The region, Barooah said, currently is producing just 2-3 percent of its actual potential due to various bottlenecks.

‘The figure is dismal. Some of the power projects have not been cleared, others are being opposed,’ he added.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma urged the northeastern states to think in terms of having private partnership to produce ‘green energy’ through judicial exploitation of the huge hydro power potential in the region rather than exploiting fossil fuels to the detriment of the fragile environment.

‘There was lack of knowledge in the rest of the country about the potentials of the region, which has historically been a victim of negativism,’ Sangma said.

Therefore, he said, it was important for the region to partner with the neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal and other South East Asian countries.

‘The potentialities in trade and commerce must be exploited between the northeast and its surrounding countries,’ the chief minister said.

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