Power Minister James K Sangma today expressed full confidence that the beleaguered Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL) is perfectly capable of managing its own distribution circles and does not need to outsource their operation to an arm of the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC).
Addressing the media after a meeting with Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma today, James said that the Power Department is totally opposed to the idea of a distribution franchisee as the MeECL would stand to lose out in the long-run.
“I have met the Chief Minister and I have once again stressed upon and urged upon him to look at the fact that the MeECL is very much capable of managing these distribution circles,” he said.
The cabinet is set to meeting tomorrow to take a final call on the issue, which would see the state either guarantee the Rs 1,345 central loan taken by the MeECL to pay off its power dues or handover the management of some of the most profitable distribution circles to the REC’s Power Distribution Company, which was one of the loan providers.
James said his department has made it very clear from the beginning that 100 percent budgetary provision and state guarantee should be given to MeECL by the state government.
He informed a delegation of the MeECL employees led by its Chairman-cum-Managing Director Arunkumar Kembhavi requested his intervention to ensure that outsourcing of the distribution circles is avoided.
“The CM has assured me that he will definitely look into this matter and before we come to a decision tomorrow, we will take up this matter in the meeting and discuss with our cabinet colleagues,” James said. “I have assured the chief minister that the MeECL will be moving in that direction as one united team to achieve the goal of turning around the MeECL.”
On the Finance Department’s question as to how long the state government will continue to bail out the MeECL, James said that the Power Department is very confident that the utility is capable of ensuring a turnaround.
Should it take place, Meghalaya will be the first state to have given the distribution circles as distribution franchisee under the Atma Nirbhar loan and no other states have been imposed with such conditions by the union government, he added.