The Meghalaya government has set a target to complete the 22.5 megawatts Ganol small hydro project stage-I in Garo Hills by September 2022, and the state cabinet has approved Rs 507.71 crore as a revised cost estimate for completing the pending power project.
The revised cost estimate was approved by the state cabinet during its meeting on Monday.
Power minister, and government spokesperson, James K Sangma Stating that the cabinet has approved the revised cost estimate at Rs 507.71 crore, and also approved a state development loan at an amount of Rs 50.00 crore, in order to allow the Meghalaya Power Generation Corporation Limited (MePGCL) to avail a loan of Rs 173.11 crore from financial institutions, and increase the borrowing limits of the MePGCL for the purpose.
The Ganol project was accorded administrative approval originally in 2008.
The Minister said that due to many reasons, the cost of the project and estimate was revised in the past and there was a revision in 2013, where the approved cost for implementation of the project was Rs 332.68 crore as per the 2012 price level.
In 2014, Sangma said, the project cost had to be revised again on account of an increase in the cost of land as per the new land acquisition act, 2013 which was Rs 356.43 crore, but administrative approval for this was accorded in 2019.
Sangma informed that the Central Water Commission (CWC) which was the consultant for the project, also revised the drawings which led to an increase in the quantity of several components, and there were also certain surprises which led to this increase.
“In view of this, the MePGCL revised the cost of the project further from Rs 356.43 crore to Rs 507.71 crore and this current revised cost estimate is based on the 2019 price level,” Sangma said.
The power minister informed that based on the proposals, the cabinet was informed about the views of the finance department, which made certain observations and agreed to the cabinet memo subjected to certain conditions,” the minister said.
Stating that the proposed state development loan will be considered immediately to facilitate the recommencement of the work for the project, Sangma said that in the meantime, the loan of Rs 173.11 crore can be processed.
“The interest and repayment of the state development loan will have to be made by the MeECL and to ensure regular payment of the loan, a redemption reserve fund for 10 years is to be created. This account is to be operated jointly by the MeECL and the finance department,” Sangma said.
The loan agreement should be executed between the MeECL and the state government to ensure redemption of the state development loan.
He said that the planning department had certain conditions also, and one of the conditions was that, a high powered committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary which was formed to monitor the performance of the MePDCL and MeECL, should ensure that the long term loan of Rs 1345.71 crore to be availed by the MePDCL against the state government guarantee, is regularly repaid, and the project management technical experts should be created under the planning department to support the high powered committee on its above task would also monitor the performance of the MePGCL with regards to the Ganol project.
“The second condition was that the project should be completed by September 2022,” the power minister added.w