The Meghalaya High Court has sought details from the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) regarding the load shedding hours across the State and the measures taken to reduce its impact on the public especially vital services.
The court also directed the government and the MeECL to file independent affidavits to indicate the immediate, the short-term and the long-term measures and projections of demand and plan of action during accidental shutdown of any power plant and alternative sources that may be available.
“The affidavits should also indicate equitable distribution of load-shedding hours and the alternative arrangements made for essential services like hospitals, airports and key installations,” the court said.
While hearing a PIL filed by Flaming B. Marak against rampant power cuts in the State and arbitrary load-shedding the division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Wanlura Diengdoh power supply was interrupted in the court.
“Ironically, even while the order is being dictated, the power supply to this Court has been interrupted. The power has resumed within a few second, but it may be a sign that the State ought to give an adequate answer,” the court said.
The court pointed out that electricity is no longer a luxury. “It is the State’s responsibility to ensure that there is adequate availability of electricity as per demand and plans should be in place to meet the increased future demands,” it said.
Furthermore, the court said it is also open to the State to buy power from the open grid and enter into arrangements with power companies, several of whom operate in the North-East, to ensure that adequate electricity is available to the citizens, subject to the cost being met by the citizens.
The MeECL told the high court that the monthly demand of power is to the extent of 200 million units and the availability is only 88 million units. The shortfall is because of a power plant in Tripura being shut down for technical reasons and the State finding no alternative source for power.
Indicating that the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited has made a huge claim running into several hundreds of crores against the State after having entered into an agreement to draw a minimum guaranteed amount of electricity per year, the court said, it ultimately failed to obtain the same.
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