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Meghalaya MLA alleges corruption in execution of power projects
Staff Correspondent
 SHILLONG, Nov 18 - Congress legislator Zenith Sangma today alleged rampant corruption by the NPP-led MDA Government in the implementation of power projects in the State.

 Sangma, who represents the Rangsakona Assembly constituency in the Garo Hills, said the incumbent Government is indulging in corrupt practices during execution of various power projects.

In one of the projects funded by the Asian Development Bank for providing a smart meter system, Sangma claimed that the tender process was manipulated to favour a particular bidder by eliminating competition.

According to the Congress MLA, the contractor would have to execute works worth Rs 200 crore, but again the estimated cost was enhanced by 18 per cent or Rs 36 crore.

He said the tender process should be “fair and competitive” in which several companies and suppliers can participate, which was not the case there.

Similarly, in the tender process for implementation of the Saubhagya scheme two big companies from outside the State were allotted the works at 51 per cent above the scheduled rate, while minor works of the project were allotted to around 100 local contractors at the scheduled rate.

In the Ganol Small Hydro Project, there has been a cost escalation of Rs 151 crore after revision of estimates. This escalation according to the Government, Sangma said, was due to “geological surprise”.

The Congress legislator said the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited conducted soil testing during preparation of the Detailed Project Report. In the ongoing project, the construction of a tunnel and other subterranean construction works are already over.

“The kind of work where geological surprise could occur is already over. Only construction of the superstructure is left. So how can there be geological surprises now?” Sangma questioned.

For the execution of the projects under the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gramin Jyoti Yojana Phase I and II, the scope of work was increased without approval of the Rural Electrification Corporation, which is the funding agency.

He also lambasted the MDA Government’s one-time settlement scheme for power tariff dues, stating that the scheme is aimed at benefiting industries only and not domestic consumers.

He said the industries consume around 52 per cent of power in the State. “If their 30 per cent bill is waived, the State will lose around Rs 700 crore,” Sangma said.

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