Meghalaya: Committee requests deputy CM to scrap Umngot Hydro project
Umngot river in Meghalaya | File image

Shillong: The Umngot Hydro Electric Project in Meghalaya is not on the priority list, Meghalaya Power Minister James Sangma informed on Monday.

The government is currently exploring many other renewable projects apart from solar, and hydropower is one option, he added.

“We would like to supplement that with solar. It is a very symbiotic relationship that will be there with solar and with the hydro and wind that we are looking at. All these things we want to combine and bring about a very robust and renewable energy foundation for our energy sector in Meghalaya. Our priority is solar and maybe to a certain extent wind and biomass energy,” said Sangma.

He further informed that the MoU for the proposed 210 MW Umngot Hydro Electric Project has already been scrapped.

Asked about the opposition from various stakeholders, Sangma said that it is ‘funny’ that there is stiff opposition to Umngot, because on the ground, in terms of movement, there is nothing against the government. “I don’t know where these apprehensions are coming from or the genesis of these apprehensions. But like I said, if we are to go ahead with this project we will be taking the views and reaching out to stakeholders,” said Sangma.

He further added that they would discuss this matter with the locals. There may be some fears which are genuine and need to be addressed and that the government will tackle it as and when the time comes.

“Right now, when there is no movement. I don’t know why this apprehension is there? We are facing a lot of shortage in terms of (electricity) generation. We need to ramp up our generation capacity in the state, so maybe, from that holistic or larger point of view of wanting to bring about more generation for our state…people have misread it as Umngot. But this is not the only project available to us,” clarified Sangma.

Earlier, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) against the Umngot Hydro Electric Project met with the deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong and before that with the chief minister to urge them to scrap this project. On July 5, 2021, Jaintia Students’ Union (JSU) general secretary Treibor Raul Suchen had informed they would not entertain any further talks on this project. A memorandum was also submitted in each of their visits.

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