State

Rio presses NE states to push Centre for more additional financial assistance

Rio presses NE states to push Centre for more additional financial assistance
Neiphiu Rio with the dignitaries at the 21st TCC and NERPC meeting on Thursday. (NP)
Correspondent KOHIMA, FEB 4 (NPN) | Publish Date: 2/4/2021 12:06:27 PM IST

With peace finally prevailing in the region, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio suggested that the North Eastern States should join hands and urge Government of India (GoI) to provide additional financial assistance to bridge the development gap of the region with rest of the country. 

Addressing the 21st Technical Coordination Committee (TCC) and North Eastern Regional Power Committee (NERPC) meeting at Hotel Vivor here Thursday, Rio said insurgency over the past several decades had hampered progress as governance was mainly focused on handling law and order, even as difficult terrains and heavy monsoons slowed down developmental efforts. He maintained that benefits of a growing economy like India should be shared with small and underdeveloped States of the region.

Calling for using NERPC to jointly take up the region’s power-related issues with the Centre, he observed that implementation of World Bank-funded project like North East Region Power System Improvement Project (NERPSIP) undertaken by Powergrid through the initiative of Union power ministry was one such programme that would benefit all the North-eastern States immensely.

Through this project, he said construction of transmission lines and substations at many places were in progress now and urged Powergrid to speed up the work of NERPSIP as it was already running behind schedule under tranche-I, adding that it unless it was expedited, sanction and implementation of tranche-II would be delayed.

Rio recalled that during the 20th NERPC meeting, the issue of 100% funding under Power System Development Fund (PSDF) for the Northeast as against the existing guidelines of 50% funding support for “reliable communication” was discussed thoroughly and recommended to the Union power ministry. However, as till date there was no progress, he proposed to adopt a resolution to once again impress upon the Centre for its consideration.  

He stressed that timely payment of dues and outstanding bills to Central public sector units (CPSUs) like NEEPCO, PGCIL, NTPC and other generating companies should also to be taken up seriously by the distribution companies (Discoms) and State governments.

He said many Discoms were in financial distress as the gap between the cost of supply and realisation was increasing, due to which distribution utilities were overburdened with accumulated outstanding dues.

Observing that late payment surcharge formed a huge component of debt, which otherwise was actually not a part of the tariff but a commercial obligation, Rio suggested that a compromised arrangement be worked out suiting all stakeholders in the form of freezing the late payment surcharge and apply securitisation principle of 2002 on the same issue.

Earlier in his welcome address, adviser power Tovihoto Ayemi remarked that the Northeast was fortunate to have abundant natural resources, though hydropower was one resource that was yet to be properly harnessed.

He said Arunachal Pradesh alone has an identified hydropower potential of 50,000 MW, adding that other States of the region too have huge potential. In this regard, he said NERPC should deliberate and work towards making region a power house in reality.

As per data available, Ayemi said the installed Central sector generation capacity in the region was about 3000 MW while the maximum demand met in 2020 was in the range of 2300 MW to 3000 MW.

This, he said proved that there was a huge shortfall in power generation, due to which the States of the region were compelled to import power at higher cost through Eastern and Northern grids.

Calling for early restoration of Kopili Stage I & II, the adviser urged the generating agencies engaged in development of various projects like the 2000-MW Lower Subansiri Hydro Electric Project (HEP) and 2880-MW Dibang Multipurpose Project to complete them early in order to meet the power shortage faced by the North Eastern States both as a short-term and long-term measure.

Lauding the Union power ministry for funding renovation and upgrade of protection and control systems at all 132 KV substations in Nagaland along with other NE States with 100% grant from PSDF, Ayemi said the 66 KV systems were left out because, as per guidelines for PSDF funding, only 132 KV system and above qualifies for funding under PSDF.

For this, he said the State power department had already submitted a proposal for funding 66 KV systems under PSDF for Rs 13.09 crore with a request to Central Electricity Authority to consider it as a special dispensation.

In his address, Tripura’s deputy chief minister in-charge of power Kishnu Dev Varma highlighted the achievements and activities of the State in power sector.

Meghalaya’s power minister James K Sangma urged the Centre to fast-track clearance process of new proposed power projects.

Arunachal Pradesh’s power & hydro power adviser Balo Raja proposed the planners and stakeholders present at the meeting to carry out a feasibility study on the issue and come out with a tangible policy decision as per norms associated with international exchange of electricity.

 

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