Come March and we stop marching ahead, because; there is power cut or load shedding. Amongst all the north-eastern states, Meghalaya is the second blessed State next to Arunachal Pradesh in terms of natural resources. But these resources are not fully being tapped. There are a lot of reasons and hurdles, but these reasons or hurdles can be overcome easily.
Every other State in the country or every individual who knows about Meghalaya envied us, for not knowing what to do with all these resources. They lament us for we (collectively as citizens and especially leaders) have no direction. We lack commitment, dedication, seriousness, visionary leaders, entrepreneurs, encouragement and all other qualities. In the present day scenario, we have skill and technology, but if there is no resource, all these are futile. In our case, we got the resource and did not use the skill and technologies.
What I am talking about is that; we could have been a very powerful (electricity) State; we got hundreds of rivers and streams that we can generate powers from. Because; of the rain and topography, our cascading water resource goes down to Bangladesh and Assam untapped. So many micro, minis, nano-hydroelectric projects could have been taken. We would have clean and green (saving vegetation of firewood, charcoal, etc.), energy and employment opportunities, reduce migration to town and cities (capital or district headquarters). Some rivers or streams can even be tapped for ten to twelve times before they reach down the plains.
Big dams do have consequential after effects on various issues like social, ecological, climatic, etc. Smaller ones would not affect much, and in our case; it would not be so, I do not see any dam if we build a pondage area more than that of the present Umiam. Umiam is really crying for help (anyone can see, the present photo or picture, it looks so pathetic. My emotions are with you Umiam. You have been serving us, but not deserving enough to be like this. Another abuse on you is the filth that is being dumped, which we can discuss some other time).
Why do we trade away our coal, but; instead trade electricity after generating from thermal power plant projects. These projects have not been conceptualised in the State whereas we saw the mushrooming coke plants that pollute the adjacent villages on their air, water and vegetation.
Solar energy is another potential source, which we can say that; it is still in the infant stage and not popularised or launched on a commercial scale. The technology in this field has advanced so much that even with a faint solar light the silicon cells can convert this energy into electricity. Though, the Department of Non-Conventional Energy based on solar energy is making its presence felt, but still unaffordable to the masses. Some promising steps are seen, especially; the installation of Solar street lights.
Wind power or wind energy or electricity from wind. There are certain locations and sites in the State that are ideal for such projects, which would definitely help augment the electricity needs and usages in those villages. We saw this installation work well in Lyngkien village of all the odd places. Why I say odd places, because Lyngkien is situated in a flat topography surrounded by hills all around, but that slow breeze still can turn the blades of the wind vane. Big thumbs up to James (Jimmy) Perry.
Umiam really needs help, but did anyone know that; the Japanese had already foreseen this situation at the time of their project report preparation. The work was not considered in the project itself by then, but; which can be followed up by the State Government subsequently. The Meghalaya government did follow that in the 70s, under the erstwhile Meghalaya State Electricity Board (MeSEB). It took off in the initial stage, but stopped altogether. What I am talking about is that Umiam can be fed by channelising the water from the Khri River.
It is amazing as to how the Japanese are able to do the survey and planning at that point of time, what is their level of technology. Now; with the help of GIS tools, it is found out easily to be true, and yes it is possible. From some point, the water can be brought to Umiam reservoir via channels, and the tunnel has to be bored (already worked by them), if we are to cut short the distance and winding the channel. When are we going to see this project come to life? 10-20 years? It is in doubt. For the fact that nowadays to get clearance from so many authorities like National Green Tribunal, Forest & Environment Ministry, Pollution Control Board, etc, etc.
We have seen the Umngot and Kynshi power projects. Umngot was opposed by the people. A number of public hearings were conducted but became futile exercises (because, maybe; there are no administrative and communicating skills). Another point is because the people there perhaps do not want electricity (my guess, or would anybody use other’s products, but not wanting to share theirs). Whereas in Kynshi, as per my knowledge, everything had been in place, but unfortunately the project was scrapped. Let us hope that this write up of mine tickles the neurons of those who are concerned enough so as to make Meghalaya a Power Full State.
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