The State government has come to the aid of the cash-strapped Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) by deciding to pay Rs 565 crore pending power dues to National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in 20 installments.
The decision proposed by the Power Department was approved by the State cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma today.
Briefing media persons, Power Minister Abu Taher Mondal said the agreement signed in 2007 to purchase electricity from the NTPC has put the MeECL in a tight spot and in great debt.
Mondal also said that from Rs 488 crore, the MeECL has paid the NTPC Rs 244 crore from Atmanirbhar loan but now the amount to be paid to the NTPC has increased to Rs 664 crore.
“This amount will continue to go up and up and thereby put us into a financial crisis also. So the cabinet has been kind enough to agree to this proposal of the Power Department,” he said.
Mondal informed that the dues of Rs 488 crore have accumulated for quite a long time but through a loan the MeECL was able to pay Rs 244 crore to the NTPC. In the meantime, the remaining Rs 244 crore with all the fixed charges, late payment charges including penalties the dues skyrocketed to Rs 665 crore, he said adding that if this dues continues soon it will touch Rs 1000 crore and become a big burden to the MeECL and the State government.
“NTPC was charging quite high fixed charges. We had approached them for reduction in interest and fixed charges and all these things and ultimately it did not materialise. After that we have even moved to the court of law but then as this agreement was executed in letter and spirit even the court has not given a favourable verdict in our favour,” Mondal said.
“Now after much negotiation and meetings with the NTPC they have agreed that we can pay them Rs 565 crore in 20 installments instead of Rs 665 crore and we got some relief here,” he added.
Stating that the State government would pay the dues of Rs 565 crore to NTCP, Mondal however said that the government is still negotiating so that the installments are increased to 30 or more so that the burden is further reduced.