Myntdu Leskha hydel project Phase – I ‘finally’ commissioned

Posted in February 2012

Shillong, Feb 29: Power-starved Meghalaya Wednesday added 42 MW of power by formally commissioning the first phase of a hydroelectric power project in Jaintia Hills district.
The commissioning of the initial 42 MW of the 126 MW-capacity Myntdu-Leshka power project is expected to ease the power deficit in the state.
Meghalaya, which was once a power-surplus state, has now become power-deficit. Against the peak hour demand of 650 MW, the state generates only 186.7 MW, which is exclusively hydel-based power.
"We are a power deficit state and we need to invest more in this sector to ensure development," Meghalaya Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma, who formally commissioned the 42 MW power project, said.
"Leskha is not enough to bridge the gap between demand and supply. The state has a lot of potential to produce hydro and thermal power and there is a need to harness these resources," Dr Sangma said.
The state has around 640 million tonnes of coal reserves which can be used for thermal power generation.
The Chief Minister, however, lamented the delay of commissioning the Myntdu Leshka project.
"MeECL (Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited) officials must admit their inefficiency in implementing the project in time and they should improve their efficiency in the future" he said.
He asked them to prepare the launch the second unit of the project, contributing another 42 MW into the state's power grid before the Budget Session.
Former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam had laid the foundation stone of the project on Oct 25, 2002.
Till a decade ago, Meghalaya generated surplus power and sold it to neighbouring states. But now, the state shells out about Rs.20 crore for purchasing power every month.
The situation may not improve in the near future as many of the hydel power projects under construction are running behind schedule.
Meghalaya has decided to develop a chain of small hydro-projects to meet the requirements of this mountainous state.
"We have identified 44 river basins for developing small hydropower projects to generate 483.70 MW of power," Additional Chief Secretary in charge of power BK Dev Varma said.
The Myntdu Leshka project, having cost overrun by almost three times, pushing the original estimate budget of Rs 363.08 Crores to over Rs 1000 crores, is the first Run Off River (ROR) Scheme in State and probably in the entire North East.
Meghalaya has a requirement of about 667 MW everyday but can supply only about 450 MW, which include self generation and purchase from power grid.

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