The recent allegations of the Congress on the power department in Meghalaya have been denounced by the NPP who said that “the allegations were unfounded considering all their queries were answered systematically during the Assembly session.”
In a press statement issued by the National People’s Party, NPP spokesperson Marcuise Marak on Thursday said that the “Congress has reached record lows of trying to find fresh issues to stay relevant in politics, without thinking of the welfare of the people of the state.”
Marak further highlighted that during the Assembly session, with regards to power, Congress MLA George B. Lyngdoh brought to notice the anomalies people in rural areas have due to non-functional electric meters which lead to average billing being done for them. He also brought to the notice of the government the high electricity bills of consumers due to non-functional meters. “To this, the Minister-in-charge James Sangma replied, that to solve this long-standing issue, the Government is looking to improve the billing efficiency in the State and one way of doing that is through the introduction of smart meters,” said Marak
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has financed this project through which there will be the introduction of smart meters by which 100 per cent billing efficiency will be achieved. For the lockdown period, James Sangma also notified that delayed payment charges of consumers were also being waived off, informed Marak.
“To be clear, this issue is not recent and has persisted for a long time now. We questioned the Congress many times before when they were the ruling party. However, even during those long-gone days, neither did they respond to our questions nor did they bring any solutions. It is hypocritical of them to bring this issue up now when they themselves worsened the situation without providing any resolution. The NPP-led MDA government stays committed to showing the path on how to bring billing efficiency through the smart meter project,” stated Marak.
The NPP spokesperson found it ironic that Congress MLA Zenith Sangma has sought clarification on the fact why the government did not waived off delayed payment charges (DPC) for consumers but did the same for industrial areas.
“The Power Minister replied that waiving of DPC is applicable to both domestic as well as industrial consumers. DPC is part of One Time Settlement (OTS) Scheme given to industries. Domestic consumers have a smaller DPC in comparison to industries and as such, the industries got a waiver of the DPC to overcome outstanding dues. The facts stated by the power minister in this regard were basic facts, which any well-learned person would ideally know. For a legislator like Zenith Sangma to be raising such questions in the Assembly and wasting the time of the house, unfortunately, reflects poor understanding on the stewardship of time,” Marak added.
Congress MLA Zenith Sangma ironically also questioned the state government on the Ganol small hydro project. The Ganol project is a project which the Congress had initiated by promising uninterrupted power supply to the people, but was never ever on track to complete it despite assuring everyone that they would do so by February 2018. “We would like to disregard any questions raised by the Congress in this matter, where most of their facts are ill-informed,” stated Marak.
Talking about the Saubhagya Scheme, Marak said that despite the government repeatedly issuing all necessary clarifications to the Congress, the party continues to beat the drum of corruption with regards to the Scheme. “To be clear, the Congress in its term did not even try to bring this scheme to the people of Meghalaya, despite knowing that such a scheme would be beneficial to all the people of the state, especially the economically vulnerable,” said Marak.