The barrage of accusations and the state’s disinformation campaign on social and traditional media against reforms by Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) is of great concern. The sheer political rhetoric of some opposition MPs to score points and intensify the ill-informed public reaction is very sad for a democracy, especially when these elected officials are very aware of the issues and problems that exist in society.

With so much propaganda-driven news around MeECL, it is holding back all the light even during the second wave of the pandemic, and hence, it’s hard to believe that this is the public reaction, but instead suggests a powerful political lobby at stake. Let the state suffer from narrow political gains and the interests of a few individuals with the upcoming 2023 elections in mind.

I fear that even some of our knowledgeable civil society organizations have jumped in too quickly to respond to the indoctrination process some have started to sabotage much-needed reforms that are critical to MeECL’s survival and financial stability instead of be twisted by the arm. by central power generation companies such as NEEPCO, NTPC, etc. sometimes.

As a responsible and concerned citizen, I believe that it is the right and democratic duty of every citizen to question the government, however, it is also appropriate to suggest ways and means to improve the current system by examining the best practices of other state governments, especially with regard to the generation, distribution and transmission of electricity in this case.

It is not correct to issue unnecessary threats against the government on the basis of limited information of a political nature, simply because we may not like these policies, even if they are for the greater good of society. This, in the future, could lead to serious political paralysis and weak decision-making which will have unbearable consequences for the residents of Meghalaya.

To be clear, I have criticized the bad policies of the current government of the Meghalaya Democratic Government (MDA) on several occasions and am in no way aligned with their ideology.

In addition, the Meghalaya State Electricity Board (MeSEB) was converted in 2010 into four companies with MeECL as the holding company with MePDCL, MePGCL and MePTCL with the aim of ensuring accountability, transparency, competitiveness and loss reduction. According to publicly available documents, terminal benefits are one of the most important liabilities of MeECL where it provides former employees with retirement and retirement benefits amounting to Rs 840 crore. As of 2010, MeECL had to pay this amount without government assistance despite multiple assurances from the then Congressional government in 2010 and 2014. For the Congress party and its key leaders, supporting MeECL today is a joke while laughing.

A quick breakdown of MeECL’s income statement for easier understanding for people from non-financial backgrounds, this statement shows the income generated and expenses incurred by an organization. In the case of MeECL, he gets an average income of Rs. 75 crore per month while the expenses are Rs. 120 crore per month resulting in a monthly loss of Rs 45 crore per month. This clearly shows that despite the best interest in going corporate in 2010, its employees still suffer from years of incompetence, neglect and incompetence despite the fact that electricity consumption for domestic and industrial consumers has increased. by leaps and bounds over the past 10 years. .

Members of CCORMAU, an association of MeECL employees, who claim to represent the interests of the employees are only seen doing press conferences against any reform that would benefit the Company. They only talk about the good things at MeECL and how well everything is going. If all is well according to their definition, then why is it that in the Ministry of Energy’s 2019 Utility Distribution Report, MeECL was ranked last on the list of the country’s 41 distribution utilities? Why are Meghalaya’s AT&C losses 34%, which is one of the worst in the country with a horrendous 72% billing efficiency rate? Why is MeECL the 5th worst in the country for electricity transmission and distribution losses according to the 2018 RBI report?

The public has also been misled regarding the grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that Meghalaya received in 2020 to examine the above issues by upgrading existing substations, replacing old transmission cables and installing smart meters. Smart meters help reduce AT&C electricity theft and losses that are currently in use all over the world in countries like United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, etc.

For the opponents, who think that the AfDB fund is a loan, this is not true because all the AfDB funds are in the form of a grant and a detailed explanation of the same is available on the site. AfDB Web. In addition, the AfDB also provided a similar grant to Uttar Pradesh in 2020, which is four times the amount of the grant our state received for UP to improve the quality and reliability of the supply of electricity. electricity. Why would senior MeECL members oppose this ADB grant that the government has no obligation to repay and instead suggest that the Company opt for a bank loan with interest between 10 and 12 percent, principal reimbursement included?

As a state, we are starting a dangerous trend if we do not stop leading reputable international agencies like the AfDB into such unnecessary and unscrupulous debates. The AfDB has also given a huge grant to the State Ministry of Education for the “Supporting Human Capital Development” program which benefits hundreds of thousands of young people. We would run the risk of losing future international collaborations and funds in the state if we did everything in politics to benefit the interests of a few invested individuals.

The Byrnihat 33/11 KV electricity theft incident which was revealed in April 2021 this year, representing a monthly loss of Rs 1 crore per month, is difficult to explain on how this could have happened in the past. without the knowledge of senior MeECL officials. Most of us are aware of the fleet of cars that MeECL has hired to transport their employees and in my discussion, with some of the drivers, they would inadvertently accept that all leased vehicles belong to the employees of MeECL, bought on the names different or some even in their own names. The rent for a car is between Rs 70,000 and 1,000,000 per month. Paying for rented vehicles itself is a multi-crore activity in MeECL that no one talks about. If MeECL pays such a huge rent for a car like Swift whose base model is Rs 6.5 lakh, why doesn’t it buy these cars on its own which will be reflected as assets in its balance sheet?

The recent revelation in various newspapers about CCORMAU leader PK Shullet, who has been shown to be involved in multiple financial irregularities for awarding contracts to his wife only, proves a point of blatant favoritism and stinking corruption plaguing the Society.

Finally, blaming the current government and the Minister of Energy won’t really help the governments coming and going, but what will remain is MeECL. It is high time that the Company’s employees behave responsibly and perform their duties to the best of their ability instead of getting involved in petty politics and blocking very important reforms that will help the state and MeECL.

The current status quo must be broken to ensure accountability, transparency, competitiveness and reduction of AT&C losses, as these were the founding principles of MeECL. The interest of the State is paramount and must above all be the commercial and commercial opportunities of a few.

Benjamin lyngdoh
Shillong – 793016

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