The 21st North Eastern Regional Power Committee (NERPC) inaugural programme with ministers from North- Eastern States, officials of the Central and state governments and State Power Utilities was held at Hotel Vivor, Kohima on Thursday.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the delegates said that the North Eastern region was carved out of political turmoil, social geography and ethnic consideration and till date actual infrastructural development is yet to take place, according to a DIPR report. Rio also said that the benefits of a growing economy of the country should be shared with the small and underdeveloped States of the North Eastern region and that India as a country can truly be called a developed Country only when the North Eastern region prospers in every way.
Rio then said that the power sector is no doubt one of the most complicated sectors, where there is a need to use collective wisdom to strike a proper balance between commercial needs and social obligations. He added that NERPC is the most appropriate forum to discuss all such pertinent issues pertaining to the power sector in the North Eastern Region. Rio also stated that NERPC has always been relentlessly striving towards making the NER power system operations more reliable, efficient and economically viable.
Rio then remarked that the implementation of World Bank funded projects like NERPSIP (North East Region Power System Improvement Project) undertaken by the POWERGRID through the initiative of Ministry of Power, Government of India, are such programmes which are going to benefit all the North Eastern States immensely. He further added that through this project, the much needed construction of transmission lines and sub-stations are presently in progress in many places.
Also read: Neiphiu Rio takes charge as Chairman NERPC
He then urged the POWERGRID, the Implementing agency, to speed up the work as the Tranche-I of the NERPSIP is already running behind the timeline of completion schedule and unless it is expedited the sanction and implementation of Tranche-II will be delayed.
He also said that most of the power projects in NE region are hydro based and due to the geological uncertainties, commissioning of hydro projects are being delayed because of which the tariffs are comparatively higher. Nevertheless, since hydro projects are the most potential area of power generation, he appealed to the executing agencies to take up the challenge and put up all efforts for timely commissioning of the projects. Rio, while highlighting the power scenario in Nagaland, said reliable communication is a crucial factor for both system and market operation in the power sector. However, the 66 kV systems in Nagaland which is about 60% of our Intra-State Transmission system have been left out in various central schemes and for this reason, “we are unable to effectively manage our Intra-State Transmission system,” the Nagaland Chief Minister pointed out. He requested the forum to recommend the proposal to the Ministry of Power (MOP) for funding of the project under PSDF as a special dispensation.
Deputy Chief Minister of Tripura and minister in charge of Power, Jishunu Dev Varma, while speaking at the event said that NERPC since its formation has been persistently working towards making the NRE Power System operations reliable, efficient and economical . He also said that the implementation of India and World Bank funded project NERPSIP is one such major infrastructure development programme to create a robust power network in the north eastern states by strengthening and augmenting the intra-state transmission and distribution system. He expressed hope that the meeting will resolve many of the significant issues affecting the power sector in the NE region.
Minister for Power, Law, Forest & Environment, Taxation, Information & Public Relations, Meghalaya, James K. Sangma pointed that some of the projects under NERSIP are delayed with regards to setting up of transmission line and requested the forum to find means to expedite the approval of projects as early as possible. Sangma also highlighted another major issue and said that the northeast region being the seismically – active region, geological issues such as slope failure while implementing hydro power projects causing time and cost overruns for projects. He then urged the forum to explore new avenues for the excavation of surplus power from the region to Bangladesh, as it would enable Meghalaya and other NE states to trade surplus power to Bangladesh and earn additional revenue by providing a transmission corridor to Bangladesh. He also requested the Government of India to fast-track the clearance process for new proposed power projects and endorse their proposal to review the funding norm under PSDF, to facilitate expeditious execution of PSDF schemes.
MLA & Advisor, Power & Hydro Power, Arunachal Pradesh, Balo Raja, urged the Ministry of Power to change the funding pattern under PSDF from 50:50 ratio to 100%, as the funding norms of 50:50 ratio are not able to install optical fibre Ground wire. He further requested the forum to accord early sanction of the revised DPR, so that no completed arts of assets remain idle due to incompletion of upstream or downstream works. He then proposed the planners and stakeholders to carry out feasibility study in the issue and come out with tangible policy decisions as per norms associated with international exchange electricity.