|Centre, ADB sign loan pact|
NEW DELHI, Dec 1 - The Government of India signed a USD 132.8 million loan pact with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday to strengthen and modernise power supply in Meghalaya.
The signatories to the Meghalaya Power Distribution Sector Improvement Project were Dr CS Mohapatra, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs in the Union Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India, and the Country Director of the ADB’s India Resident Mission, Takeo Konishi, on behalf of the ADB.
After signing the loan agreement, Dr Mohapatra said that the project would support the Meghalaya Government’s ‘24x7 Power for All’ initiative and help the State reduce its high technical and commercial losses through network strengthening and improvement of metering and billing efficiency.
“Technological improvements to the distribution network adapted to extreme weather, introduction of smart meters and online meter reading, billing, and collection systems will help improve operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of the State’s distribution system,” said Konishi.
Though Meghalaya has achieved 100 per cent electrification, remote rural areas in the State suffer from frequent power interruptions due to overloaded distribution networks and substations using outdated technology.
The Government of India and the Meghalaya Government embarked on the joint 24x7 Power for All Meghalaya initiative to provide uninterrupted, quality, reliable and affordable power supply to all electricity consumers. Under the project, 23 substations will be constructed, 45 substations, including control room equipment and protection systems, will be renovated, 2,214 kilometres of distribution lines and associated facilities covering three out of the six circles in the State, will be installed and upgraded. Installation of smart meters will benefit about 1,80,000 households.
The loan will be supplemented by a USD 2 million grant from the ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to finance renewable energy mini-grids that will improve power quality and support income generation activities, especially for women and other socially disadvantaged groups, in three villages and three schools.
The project will help develop a distribution sector road map and a financial road map for the Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL). These road maps will strengthen the capacity of the MePDCL to operate and manage distribution networks.