Shillong, March 9 (IANS) Meghalaya owe Rs 527.07 crore in outstanding dues to the government-owned North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) and other central generating stations till March 2, 2017, Power Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar told the state assembly on Thursday.
“Meghalaya Power Distribution Company Limited (MePDCL) is clearing the current power purchase bills every month but is unable to the clear the outstanding dues as the revenue collected is required to meet different liabilities,” he said.
Dhar, who was replying to queries during the Question Hour in the assembly, said the inability of the MePDCL to liquidate the dues pertaining to power procurement is primarily due to fund constraints.
Citing reasons for the accumulation of power dues, the Power Minister said that the inadequate realisation of outstanding dues from defaulters was one among the many reason for the accumulation of outstanding dues.
He also informed the assembly that major power defaulters were Sai Prakash — Rs 35 crore, CMJ Breweries — Rs 1.2 crore, Bomber Cement — Rs 0.23 crore, RNB Carbide — Rs 4.5 crore, JUD Cement — Rs 22 crore, and government-owned Meghalaya Cherra Cement Limited — Rs 18 crore.
Dhar said the fund constraint has arisen from low electricity distribution tariff, which is among the lowest in the country, besides the inadequate tariff subsidy provided by the state government.
Dhar said the MePDCL had to procure power from expensive sources to avoid load shedding. As rainfall in the previous years was scanty, power generation from the state generating stations was considerably low.
However, the Power Minister informed the assembly that the MePDCL had availed a government guaranteed loan of Rs 325 crore from the Power Finance Corporation and partially cleared the outstanding dues to NEEPCO on December 21 as part of the one-time settlement plan for liquidation of the dues.
He also said that the Meghalaya government had agreed to take over 75 per cent of the outstanding debts — which is about Rs 166.67 crore — as on September 30, 2015, by issuing Bonds.
Dhar said that the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) has submitted a proposal to the state government on February 2, 2016, to participate in the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY).
UDAY is a central government scheme for financial turnaround of power distribution companies.