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Meghalaya power minister for ‘green energy’
Correspondent SHILLONG, JUN 25:
Published on 25 Jun. 2009 10:37 PM IST
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Meghalaya Finance Minister Dr Mukul M Sangma today advocated "setting up hydel projects", as the best option to overcome power shortage and have "green energy". "The government as a whole was trying to overcome power shortage by tapping the available resources, but thermal plants have adverse affect on the climate and environment," Sangma said in course of his reply to the discussion over his Budget speech. Sangma, who himself is the Power portfolio stated the northeast collectively has the potential of generating more than 75,000 MW through hydel projects. "We have to look from the context of global warming. India is thriving for a Green India and Meghalaya should not be seen contributing to global warming by implementing thermal plants," the Finance Minister said. Apart from having hydel projects, Sangma said, the government was also trying to have a separate policy on non-conventional renewable energy as the centre was extending help to states for power generation from alternate sources. He also informed that the previous Congress-led government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) to implement a 500 MW thermal power project. Sangma, however, said that the project has been shelved despite the centre sanctioning Rs six crore. The Minister who was in Norway together with other power ministers from northeast to study the power generation in the Nordic country spoke about the efficiency of the system there. "We asked when was there a power cut the last time (in Norway). The officials replied that they could hardly remember an instance when there was a power cut since childhood," Sangma told the House. Sangma admitted that frequent power cuts in Meghalaya has added to people's suffering, which the state government was trying to rectify through a host of measures. On employment generation, Sangma added, the power sector has the potential to create between 4000 to 5000 additional jobs in the next five years. Moreover, the Meghalaya State Electricity Board was being corporatised to make it more efficient. "The move is on to corporatise the Board on a fast pace," the Finance Minister said. M’laya FM admits errata in budget A after being accused of “misleading” the House, Meghalaya Finance Minister Dr Mukul M Sangma on Thursday told the assembly that all his financial statements, including the state’s financial budget having a deficit of 400.31 crore were all correct. On Wednesday, the Leader of Opposition Conrad K Sangma had accused the Finance Minister of “misleading the Assembly” by not giving exact figures relating to the state’s Budget, saying that there was difference of Rs 1, 25 crore in the revenue expenditure in the Finance Minister’s budget speech. The Finance minister, however, admitted that there was an errata in grant-in-aid which he said would be corrected. “There was no intention to mislead the House and it was premature to say that the House was misled,” he asserted, in course of his reply to the discussion over his budget speech. Stating that the question of misleading the House is a serious allegation, which amounts to breach of privilege, Sangma told the House that he expects that all such misgivings are forgotten. Appreciating the Assembly members for providing their suggestions, Dr Sangma said that the state government is putting concerted efforts to improve the overall development of the state. Apart from the Power sector, the Finance Minister said the government has listed Tourism and Agriculture sector as top-priority in his budget speech. He said the government had enhanced the budget of Tourism sector to the tune of Rs. 13.45 crore from 3.75 crore which was in 2008-09. Similarly, an increased of 150 per cent budget estimate has been made in Agriculture to help the rural farming community.

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