'13 pc hike in free energy share more viable�
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 01: Power Minister Phungzathang Tonsing has suggested that increasing the free energy quota received from the Centre by each State from the current 12 pc to 25 pc will benefit the State more than taking over the Loktak Hydro Electric Project which is producing 105 MW.

Talking to The Sangai Express, Phungzathang however said the possibility of taking over the project is being looked into by an expert committee following a private member resolution moved by an Opposition member in the State Assembly during the March session.

A meeting of the committee held at the office of the Power Commissioner on July 26 has asked the NHPC to submit the technicalities likely to be faced in the takeover to the committee.

He has also sought the status of the Loktak project.

The findings of the expert committee will be tabled during the Monsoon session of the House beginning July 4, he further said.

When asked for his opinion on the matter, the Power Minister said that the life span of the project is 30 years and 18 years have been completed by now.

Stating that all the machines have become old and the State Government will have to bear the burden of Rs 75 crs in the event of the takeover, he said increasing the free energy share to 25 pc far outweighs the benefit to be received from the takeover of Loktak Project.

He also expressed Confidence the Centre will agree to the free energy share hike.

As the Loktak Lake is a natural water body, NHPC did not incur too much expenditure, as compared with other big projects, while installing the Loktak Project as no big dam was constructed.

As such it is believed that both the NHPC and the Central Govt will agree to the proposal for the increase in free energy share of the State, he added.

When asked on the status of the Loktak Downstream Power Project, Phungzathang said it will be surely taken up.

The review report for reducing the project cost has already been submitted.

The Union Home Ministry is seriously considering providing security for the Project, he said and added the security cost will not be included in the project cost and will be borne by the Centre.

It may be recalled that though Loktak Project had improved energy supply in Manipur, thousands of people affected by the project have been opposing it.