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Business Economy

Meghalaya: Power officials favours action against engineers involved in corrupt practices

Shillong Apr 7 (UNI) Engineers of Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) on Wednesday said that they are not supporting irregularities and any form of corrupt practices and demanded action against engineers involved in corrupt practices.
The Coordination Committee of Registered MeECL (Employees) Associations and Unions comprising employees of MeECL, (CCORMAU), however appreciated the MeECL management for trying to reduce the AT&C losses of the cash-strapped power corporation.
Alleging rampant irregularities and scams in the MeECL, CCORMAU President, P K Shullet said that the Committee would resort to agitation if the state government failed to address the demands within the April 26.
One of the demand is to relieve the power portfolio from senior minister James Sangma, who is also the elder brother of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, in order to facilitate a free and fair probe into the alleged financial irregularities and implementation of central power schemes in the state.

The other demands include to appoint an officer not below the rank of Additional Chief Secretary be appointed as Chairman-Cum-Managing Director (CMD) of the MeECL.
In the past years, several senior IAS officers including former chief secretaries had become the CMD but the MeECL has been ailing.
The CCORMAU alleged irregularities and scams in MeECL like power theft and CMD’s inspection at Byrnihat area, Enterprise Resource Planning, Smart Metering, Saubhagya Scheme, Special Tariff to the BIA, OTS Scheme, concessions during COVID19 provided to the industries , Power Banking and Swapping, besides the recent resignation of an Independent Director MeECL, L. Kharkongor (Retd.) IAS.
When pointed out that the consumers are angry at the MeECL and engineers who kept quiet in the past years when industries and government departments are not paying outstanding dues for many years to the MeECL worth around Rs 514 crore now, the CCORMAU members said, “we have to seek approval of the higher authority to do it, but we don’t want to comment on our predecessors.”
On present MeECL Chief Arunkumar Khembavi’s initiating reforms especially to reduce AT&C losses, the CCORMAU said, “We appreciate the management for trying to reduce the AT&C losses and we need reforms. But reforms are not by providing special tariff to BIA or OTS, or doing away with power banking. We have filed a review petition before the MSCRC regarding the special tariff by reducing from Rs 6.6 to Rs 4.9 and soon there will be a hearing on this.”
“We all are opposed to any form of corruption, if any engineer of the MeECL, indulged in corrupt practices, let appropriate action be taken against such engineers. We are not against changes and we are also not against reforms if they are properly done. We are only opposing the bad policies of the management and the manner and process the way in which the scheme has been implemented, that we will have detrimental effects on and jeopardise the interest of the organisation in particular and the state in general,” Shullet said.
On smart metres, the CCORMAU said that it did not oppose installation of smart metre but against the process.
“We are never against the installation of smart energy meters but the way loans were availed when we have a Central government PSU (EECL) to install meters free of cost. Why do we need to take loans?” CCORMAU member Arju Dkhar said.
Earlier, the Power Minister and the CMD had repeatedly clarified in the media that the Smart Meter is a “grant” provided by the Central government not a loan.
On billing efficiency now which also improved revenue collection of the MeECL, the engineers said that the CMD is taking into account the jump of revenue because of the OTS but not billing efficiency alone.
Meanwhile, CCORMAU has alleged the MeECL is buying power at a high rate on the advice of Manish Gupta, an advisor of the CMD of MeECL. UNI RRK
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