Meghalaya tribals oppose Jaypee getting power project

Shillong, Aug 19 — Tribals in Meghalaya Monday opposed the handing over the proposed construction 240 MW Umngot hydro electric project to Jaypee Group, saying that it has flouted the international norms.
“We are totally against the decision of the empowered committee to hand over the construction of the Umngot hydro project to Jaypee group as the government did not follow the international competitive bidding,” Hynniewtrep Youth Council’s Peter J. Lawai told journalists.
“Handing over the power project to a private firm is nothing but a total sell-out of our own natural resources. The government should allow the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) to execute the project in order to benefit the indigenous community in a long term,” he added.
Initially, the Meghalaya government had approved the state-owned MeECL to execute the Umngot hydro electric project, estimated at a cost of Rs.1,853 crore in an area of 390 hectares straddling on both Jaintia Hills and East Khasi Hills districts.
However, Power Minister Clement K. Marak said the decision to handover the proposed construction of the hydro project to Jaypee was taken after an empowered committee felt that the MeECL may not be able to execute the project due to various reasons.
“Although, the MeECL did all the necessary assessment and hydrology investigation, but the empowered committee felt that the MeECL will not be able to execute the project due to various reasons,” Marak told IANS over phone from New Delhi.