Demands for Power and FCS passed by voice vote
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 24 2009: Out of three demand for grants taken up for discussion, the State Assembly today passed two demands by voice vote as the Opposition MLAs, who were not satisfied with the responses of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Minister Y Erabot and Power Minister Phungzathang Tonsing, declined to withdraw their cut motions.

Moving a policy cut motion during the discussion on the demand of Power Department, MPP MLA O Joy observed that the power situation in Manipur today is regularly irregular and the MLAs are fighting among themselves for power transformers.

Pointing out that the amount of fund allocated to the Power Department over the years has been huge, the fire brand Opposition leader, in his inimitable tongue-lashing trademark, said if the amount provided to the Department can be pasted in the denomination of Rs 1000 notes, then the entire State of Manipur could have been covered with crisp currencies.

Drawing the attention of the House, O Joy reminded that after taking up a case in connection with diversion of Rs 16 crores to other unrelated works of the Department from a total fund of Rs 22 crores allocated under normal plan and SPA, a High Power Committee with the Chief Secretary as Chairman had recommended the recovery of the amount from the then Chief Engineer, 28 EEs and one Under Secretary.

He also demanded that the Power Minister table a report on how much of the diverted amount had been recovered by the Department, in connection with the case taken up after invoking the Manipur Public Servant Personnel Liability Act.

Joy went on to inform the House that no open tender has been sought in connection with construction of five sub-power stations of 33 KV capacity in the hill districts, each at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crores and only restricted tender had been invited.

Moreover, selection of firms to implement the Accelerated Power development and Reforms Programme in Thoubal and Bishnupur district had been done without publishing the advertisement of the tender in the newspapers, Joy alleged, while demanding to know the progress made on the implementation of the programme so far.

Participating in the discussion, Opposition leader, Radhabinod Koijam of the NCP, noted that there is a big gap between the demand and supply of power in the State and suggested that the outstanding power tariff of various Government Departments be deducted from their respective revenue sources.

While terming the proposed construction of Tipaimukh Multipurpose Dam as a dream project, the MLA also stressed on relying on non-conventional energy sources.

MLA Dr Ng Bijoy of MPP, who put up the economy cut motion, revealed that Power Department itself has defaulted from paying an outstanding power tariff of Rs 75 lakhs.

In case of breakdown of transformers, local people and the MLAs have been contributing money for the purpose of repairing the same, he added.

Questioning whether the Heavy Fuel Power Project at Leimakhong is still cost effective or whether the viability report of the project had been assessed, he also demanded tabling of the same in the House.

Pointing out that MoUs on Loktak Project and Tipaimukh Hydro Electric Project had been signed long ago, Dr Bijoy further demanded to know whether the MoUs are going to be renewed or not.

During the discussion, MLA N Mangi of CPI drew the attention of the Chief Minister who is also in charge of Finance asking whether the reported lapsed of Rs 55 crores following failure of submitting the utilisation certificate of Rs 30 crores from the total Rs 85 sanctioned under APDRP Scheme by the Centre was true or not and that the Centre has rejected the detailed project reports of the scheme with regard to Thoubal, Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts.

MLA Dr I Ibohalbi, MLA Morung Makunga and MLA Th Shyamkumar also participated in the discussion.

In response to the discussion, the Power Minister asserted that consumption of power requires payment of power tariff.

But everyone seem to think that electric light is coming for free like the sunlight.

As the Centre has given approval to extending a new line of 400 KV from Silchar and Jiribam to Imphal, steps would be soon taken up for installing the line under the joint funding of the State and the World Bank.

The power situation in the State would be improved once this new line is installed, the Minister assured.

The MoU signed for Loktak Project has been expired and it would be renewed, the Minister said, while informing the House that a workshop would be set up under the Non-Plan for the purpose of repairing the defective transformers.

The Minister further informed the House that discussions are on to rope in the services of the NGOs on pay of 10 percent of the amount in collecting the power tariff from the consumers.

Loktak Downstream project would also taken up as a joint venture after converting it as a corporation.

No one has responded to the advertisement for appointment of judges in connection with setting up social court under the Manipur Electricity Act.

Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh said implementation of RGGVY Scheme is being monitored directly by the Prime Minister's Office.

He admitted that some restricted tenders have been called under this scheme and an amount of Rs 55 crores had been lapsed as the utilisation certificate of Rs 30 crores out of the total Rs 85 crores sanctioned under the scheme could not be submitted in time.

On the other hand, in connection with the discussion on the demand grant of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, MLA Ng Bijoy pointed out that the rice quota of Imphal East under the AAY and BPL scheme as well as the sugar quota have not been received since June.

MLA Radhabinod Koijam of NCP alleged that APL rice quota meant for distribution among the public is being siphoned off by some unscrupulous elements.

This is nothing but looting the public, he said.

MLA Shyamkumar pointed out that out 29,000 litre of Kerosene being provided by the Government to each Assembly Constituencies every month, the actual quantity being received is only 23,000 litres.

MLA Dr Ibohalbi said 10 percent of the Kerosene quota provided to Bishnupur district is being directed to the pressures groups.

In his response, Minister Y Erabot said he was hearing for the first time today that Imphal East is not getting its rice quota and that Andro received less quantity of Kerosene.

The Minister further informed the House that due to law and order problem the officials of the Department have not been able to sit in their respective offices and perform their duties.

The Opposition MLAs who were not satisfied with the responses of the two Ministers declined to withdraw their respective motions, forcing the Speaker of the House to finally pass the demand grant of Rs 11,59,31,000 related to Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Rs 3,37,31,84,00 related to Power by voice vote.

Another demand grant of Rs 3,65,15,000 related to Printing and Stationeries had also been cleared by the Assembly today.

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