The Joint Action Committee of suppliers and contractors of the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL) has expressed resentment over how, it says, projects that could be taken on at the local level are clubbed together and handed to companies from outside the state.
“These companies sublet or lease works to local civil and electrical contractors on a piecemeal basis at a low rate,” Chairman of the committee, H Rumnong, told reporters after meeting Power Minister James Sangma today.
As an example he cited the “much-hyped” Saubhagya scheme, a central government project to electrify all households in the country, which he described as a total failure.
“The scheme was implemented through local suppliers and contractors at the initial stage in May 2018 and by October 2018, a total of 45,000 household connections were achieved, which is 28 percent of the total number of households. But subsequently, there was a radical shift in the execution mode to turnkey to meet the deadline. Since then we are skeptical about the efficacy of the programme because work is scattered from one place to another. This wishful dream to complete this programme by December 31, 2018 has not materialized and the works are still going on,” he added.
Sangma reportedly gave Rumnong and the other contractors a commitment to discuss the matter with officials of the MeECL and Power Department.
The success of the Saubhagya scheme in Meghalaya depended on the hard work and effort of local contractors. Their absence in the second half of the implementation means that the state has not reaped the benefits of the scheme and has resulted in unemployment and a “huge escalation” in the contract price. In contrast to Saubhagya, Rumnong said that the Myntdu-Leshka, Umtru and Ganol projects have been smoother in implementation because locals were used.
Meanwhile, Rumnong said that the cancellation of the purchase orders and work orders of the augmentation of the 132/33 KV Mawlai sub-station from 3x50MVA, along with re-engineering of the 132 KV Bus bar is highly illegal.
“The work orders given in 2019 of the augmentation of the 132/33 KV Mawlai sub-station from 3x50MVA, along with re-engineering of the 132 KV Bus bar was cancelled after a gap of six months and the total work that has already been supplied and executed on the ground is more Rs 2.46 crore which is unfortunate and arbitrary action taken by the board of directors MeECL that is highly illegal and objectionable,” he said, adding that the minister has assured to see that the work orders will be revoked.