Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday blamed the erstwhile Congress-led government for signing a “one-sided agreement” with NTPC, entailing an annual payment of over Rs 130 crore to the company despite not purchasing power from it in the past three years.
The state government would have to pay Rs 3,300 crore approximately to the NTPC in the next 25 years, Sangma said in the assembly.
“Because of this agreement in 2007, today we have a situation where the NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd) is literally arm twisting the government of Meghalaya and stopping us from buying power from other power generation companies,” the chief minister said.
Sangma was replying to a motion moved by opposition Congress legislator Zenith Sangma in the House.
Zenith had expressed concern over the current load-shedding imposed across the state despite the government’s claim of reducing the outages within a short time.
The Chief Minister reminded the MLA that the agreement was signed with the NTPC during Congress rule in 2007.
“And today, people of the state, the present Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government and Meghalaya Electric Corporation Ltd (MeECL) have to bear the brunt due to this mess created from 2007.
“I dont understand how a government could put Meghalaya and the people of the state in such a difficult position by signing a one-sided agreement based on which government of Meghalaya has to pay NTPC a fixed charge of Rs 11 crore every month (and Rs 130 crore every year), even though we dont take a single unit of power from them for past 3 years,” Sangma said.
According to him, the agreement has also allowed NTPC to stop other companies from supplying power to the state.
“In the agreement signed in 2007, the government had agreed that from the year of installation of the last unit at Bongaigaon thermal plant of the NTPC, the pact would be valid for the next 25 years. Since the installation of the last unit was done in 2019, you have to add another 25 years which means that the association will be valid till 2044,” he said.
Voicing concern over the agreement, Sangma said, “If we continue not to take power from NTPC, which we are doing right now, we have to pay them Rs 130 crore annually for nothing and this would go on for the next 25 years. If Rs 130 crore is multiplied by 25, Rs 3,325 crore will have to be paid by the MeECL for not taking any power from the NTPC.”
Based on the agreement, the NTPC had invoked certain provisions where they can simply stop the state from buying power from other companies, the chief minister said.
Asserting that he does not believe in blame games, the chief minister said that discussion is going on with the NTPC for resolving this issue.
“We are tyring to negotiate with them (NTPC) telling them that the particular agreement and the clauses being invoked are unreasonable,” he said.
The NTPC has sought the MeECLs commitment to clear its dues from the Atma Nirbhar Abhiyan loan, Sangma said.
“Based on this, the MeECL and power department has tentatively said how much they will pay to NTPC from the second instalment of the first tranche as well as the second tranche,” he said.
According to him, the government had taken Rs 380 crore of the Rs 1,300 crore (approximately) loan and of this amount, Rs 100 crore was paid directly by Rural Electric Corporation (REC) to NTPC, NEEPCO, PGCIL and other power companies.
“We are hoping…we will be able to fulfil all those conditions and access the website through which will we will be able to purchase power from other companies. We are waiting for that,” he said.