India can truly be called a developed Country only when North Eastern region prosper: Rio

The Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio said that India can truly be called a developed Country only when North Eastern Region prosper in every way.

Kohima, February 04 (NEx): The Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio said that India can truly be called a developed Country only when North Eastern Region prosper in every way. He said this while addressing the 21st North Eastern Regional Power Committee (NERPC) inaugural programme with Ministers from North- Eastern States, Officials of the Central and State Governments and State Power Utilities at Hotel Vivor, Kohima on February 04, 2021.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio mentioned that the North Eastern region were carved out of political turmoil, social geography and ethnic consideration and till date actual infrastructural development is yet to take place. He also said that the benefits of a growing economy of the Country should be shared with the small and underdeveloped States of North Eastern Region and that India as a Country can truly be called a developed Country only when North Eastern Region prosper in every way.

Rio said that Power sector is no doubt one of the most complicated sectors, where there is a need to use collective wisdom to strike a proper balance between commercial needs and social obligations adding that NERPC is the most appropriate Forum to discuss all such pertinent issues facing the power sector in the North Eastern Region. Rio stated that NERPC has always been relentlessly striving towards making the NER power system operations more reliable, efficient and economically viable.

Rio remarked that the implementation of World Bank funded project like NERPSIP (North East Region Power System Improvement Project) undertaken by the POWERGRID through the initiative of Ministry of Power, Gol was one such programme which is going to benefit all the North Eastern States immensely. He further added that through this project, the much needed construction of Transmission lines and Sub-stations are presently in progress in many places and urged upon the POWERGRID, the Implementing Agency, to speed up the work as the Tranche-I of the NERPSIP is already running behind timeline of completion schedule and unless it is expedited the sanction and implementation of Tranche-II will be delayed.

Rio said that most of the power projects in NE Region are hydro based and due to the geological uncertainties, commissioning of hydro projects are being delayed because of which the tariff are comparatively higher. Nevertheless, since Hydro projects are the most potential area of power generation, he appealed to the executing agencies to take up the challenge and put up all efforts for timely commissioning of the projects.

Rio highlighting on the Power Scenario in Nagaland said Reliable Communication is a crucial factor for both System and Market operation in power sector. However, the 66 kV systems in Nagaland which is about 60% of our Intra-State Transmission system have been left out in various central schemes and for this reason, we are unable to effectively manage our Intra-State Transmission system. He requested the forum to recommend the proposal to the Ministry of Power (MOP) for funding of the project under PSDF as a special dispensation.

Deputy Chief Minister Tripura and Minister in charge of Power, Jishunu Dev Varma speaking at the event said that NERPC since its formation has been persistently working towards making the NER Power System operations reliable, efficient and economical. He also said that the implementation of India and World Bank funded project NERPSIP is one such major infrastructure development programme to create robust power network in the north eastern states by strengthening and augmenting the intra-state transmission and distribution system. He further hopes that the meeting will resolve many of the significant issues affecting the power sector in the NE Region.

Advisor, Power, Tovihoto Ayemi delivering the welcome address pointed that, as per the data, installed by the central sector generation capacity of 3000MW for year 2020 is a huge shortfall in our generating capacity and due to which the N.E States are compelled to import at higher cost through Eastern and Northern grids. He therefore, urged for early restoration of Kopil stage I & II and upcoming generation projects such as Lower-subsansiri HEPC 2000MW, Dibang Hydro Multi project 2880mw in order to mitigate the present power shortage problems faced both in short and long term measures.

The Advidor further urged the central electricity authority to consider a special dispensation for funding left out of 66kv system under PDSF for an amount of Rs 13.09 cr. and to consider funding the gap after the exit of Assam from common facility in February 2021, as Nagaland share of Rs 3.12 cr per annum shall not be able to take additional financial burden. He hoped that the meeting will pave the way to truly make NE region a power house and propel the region to emerge as powerful economy through power industry.

Minister for Power, Law, Forest & Environment, Taxation, Information & Public Relations, Meghalaya, James K. Sangma pointed that some of the projects under NERPSIP are delayed with regards to setting up of Transmission Line and request the forum to find means to expedite the approval of projects as early as possible. Sangma also highlighting on another major issue says that north east being the seismically – active region, geological issues such as slope failure while implementing Hydro power projects causing time and cost overruns for projects. He urged the forum to explore new avenues for the excavation of surplus power from NE to Bangladesh, as it would enable Meghalaya and other NER states to trade surplus power to Bangladesh and earn additional revenue by providing a transmission corridor to Bangladesh. He also requested the Government of India to fast-track the clearance process for new proposed power projects and endorse their proposal to review the funding norm under PSDF, to facilitate expeditious execution of PSDF schemes.

MLA & Advisor Power & Hydro Power, Arunachal Pradesh, Balo Raja, urged the Ministry of Power, GoI, to change the funding pattern under PSDF from 50:50 ratio to 100%, as the funding norms of 50:50 ratio were not able to install Optical Fibre Ground Wire. He further requested the forum to accord early sanction of the revised DPR, so that no completed arts of assets remain idle due to incompletion of upstream or downstream works. He further proposed the planners and stakeholders to carry out feasibility study in the issue and come out with tangible policy decisions as per norms associated with international exchange electricity.

Meanwhile, Keynote Address was delivered by Member Secretary A. K. Thakur, IES and Director NERPC B Lyngkhoi and Principal Secretary (Power) K.D Vizo pronounced the vote of thanks.

(With inputs from DIPR)