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NE has huge hydro-power potential: Power Minister
Staff Reporter

Union Power Minister RK Singh in a meeting with chief secretaries and principal secretaries of power of northeastern states in Guwahati on Tuesday. – UB Photos
 GUWAHATI, Aug 27 - Union Power Minister RK Singh today said North-Eastern India has a huge hydro-power potential and the State Governments have a major role in hydro-projects by way of facilitating land acquisition and implementing the resettlement and rehabilitation plans.

Singh assured full support for development of hydro-power in the region and called upon all stakeholders to work in close coordination so as to optimally harness the hydro potential.

“Development of hydro projects in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh had contributed to the prosperity of those States. Similarly, NE States can reap long term benefits out of developed hydro projects,” Singh said addressing a review meeting with officials from North East states.

During the meeting, a power purchase agreement was also signed between Government of Arunachal Pradesh and NHPC Limited for supply of power from 2000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project.

The meeting was however marred by protests by anti-dam KMSS activists, who shouted slogans and demonstrated against the move to resume construction of the Lower Subansiri dam outside the hotel venue at Khanapara.

Apprehending the protests, the police had clamped prohibitory orders banning assembly of people. Scores of police personnel were deployed in and around the hotel to prevent any law and order breach.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Singh cautioned that concerted efforts will have to be made to make the system sustainable.

“In order to redeem our pledge for 24/7 power, we will have to reduce the losses and make the DISCOMS viable,” he said, citing example of some states which had huge commercial losses but have been able to bring down the losses to 15 per cent or below. He urged NE States to adopt smart and prepaid meters to avoid power theft. The Minister further stated that grant for Central Government schemes will be made available to only those states who undertakes reforms, viz, reduction of losses etc.

During the meeting, the Minister reviewed various power sector schemes and projects under implementation in the North-Eastern States, such as, Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) and R-APDRP. He noted the gaps and directed concerned agencies to speed up the completion of pending work and advised State Governments to extend necessary help in getting statutory clearances. It may be noted that new projects worth Rs.1797.43 crore have been sanctioned under IPDS for the region.

Last evening, the Power Minister had a meeting with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at Brahmaputra State Guest House.

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