The United Democratic Party (UDP), a major partner of the MDA government has demanded an independent inquiry into alleged irregularities in the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL).
This demand was made in a letter submitted by UDP president, Metbah Lyngdoh to chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, Metbah, who is the UDP president and Speaker of the Meghalaya Assembly, said that in his letter to the chief minister, the party has mentioned 10 points that an independent inquiry should look into.
To a question that irregularities in the MeECL have been happening for the past many years even when chief secretaries and senior IAS officers were holding the post of CMD, Lyngdoh said that the head of the MeECL should both possess efficiency and seniority.
“I feel that the head of the MeECL should be an independent officer who will work and dedicate his time for the betterment of the corporation,” the UDP president said.
Lyngdoh said that the problems in the MeECL have been there and continued to be there till date.
“We saw that the situation right from the past many years has not improved, as things continue to be in bad shape. Now we want to see that the problems in the MeECL are addressed and solved once and for all,” Lyngdoh said.
The UDP wanted that an independent inquiry should look into the implementation of Saubhagya scheme which has been alleged that there were flaws right from the beginning of the tendering process till the implementation stage which has resulted in huge losses of more than Rs 100 crore, implementation of smart meters, enterprise resource planning, outsource of 33/11 kV Substation to outsiders, special tariff given to the Byrnihat Industries Association at Rs. 4.90 per unit lower than the public tariff, extending the One Time Settlement scheme to the live industrial consumers which resulted in losses to the MeECL at about Rs. 17 crore.
The UDP also demanded an inquiry into the Power Banking and Swapping, massive power theft in connivance with the officers, appointment of Manish Gupta as adviser to CMD of MeECL, who is currently working as assistant manager at the Arunachal Pradesh Power Corporation Private Ltd., appointment of other advisors – Arkajyoti Bhattacharjee as Assistant (Techno-commercial) and Sunny Kumar Singh as Assistant (Finance-Commercial) without following due procedures, appointment of junior officer as director (distribution) despite having several chief engineers eligible for the post and promotion of MK Chetri from chief engineer (electrical) to director (distribution) by superseding five other senior chief engineers.
“In view of the above irregularities, it would be in the fitness of things to institute an independent inquiry to unearth the truth on all the allegations and also to restore the confidence of the general public,” the UDP president said.
“Without putting the blame on anyone at this juncture, those at the helm of affairs should be removed forthwith for a free and fair inquiry,” he added.
Earlier, UDP general secretary Jemino Mawthoh in his letter to the chief minister on March 22 demanded that the power portfolio should be relieved from James, and the present CMD, Arunkumar Kembhavi should be removed.
Mawthoh, while demanding that the power portfolio be relieved from James, and removal of the CMD, alleged serious financial bankruptcy and other financial and administrative mismanagement in the power department, plunging the state into an unprecedented power shutdown, affecting the normal life in the state in general.
The MeECL in the past years had chief secretaries as the CMD, but they could not improve the functioning of the MeECL especially to make it a profit corporation.
Those at the helm of affairs in the past, did not bother to check and detect illegalities that were going on in the MeECL, including leakages of revenue due to power theft, as well as not taking action against consumers, especially industries that did not pay the electricity bills for many years.