Shillong: Amid a financial crisis surrounding the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL), the state government has now decided to bring in additional chief secretary Rebecca V Suchiang as its new chairman-cum-managing director (CMD), replacing Arun Kembhavi.

This was informed by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma during a press briefing on Monday. Sangma said that the government had given its order on June 25 itself.

Sangma said that by bringing in a new CMD, they will not be able to change the overall situation overnight, but they are hopeful that a stronger team will be built.

“Rebecca is a senior person and also handles finance. Let us hope that we can move positively and find a solution so that we can actually see some improvement in the overall functioning of MeECL,” said Sangma.

He also clarified that this does not mean the functioning of the outgoing chairman was bad or good. “It is a tough situation and with a tough situation it requires tough measures to be taken,” Sangma said.

Since MeECL is going to inevitably face a very difficult financial situation in the coming eight to nine months, they needed a senior person, someone connected with finance, to be able to steer the entire ship and move things forward, Sangma said.

“Rebecca is also burdened with a lot of departments. We will have to examine how to move forward and find somebody who can be permanent. Any organisation like the MeECL requires a permanent person to be heading it. Till that time, we felt somebody close to finance and a senior administrative person should come into the picture,” added Sangma.

The government is expecting MeECL to make a financial loss of Rs 900 crore this financial year. Meghalaya owes Rs 1,300 crore to power generation companies.

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According to the chief minister, states like Assam, Manipur, Arunachal and others owe nothing to these big companies, and most of them owe less than Rs 100 crore. Meghalaya owes Rs 1,300 crore, he added.

The mounting pressure on MeECL came in when NEEPCO and NTPC asked Meghalaya government to pay up and the generation companies were given instructions to cut power to Meghalaya unless they did.

“It is just the matter of timing that it just so happened that this process started six months ago and that’s when the pressure on the Meghalaya government came in to clear the entire dues within two or three months. Therefore, it was a huge challenge and the pressure will continue now,” said Sangma.

Meanwhile, the staff and even the opposition Congress have been demanding the removal of Arun Kembhavi as the CMD of MeECL. Earlier, during his tenure, Kembhavi had made shocking revelations of power theft after he carried out a surprise inspection at the Byrnihat Industrial Area in Ri-Bhoi district.

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