No "Band-Aid" Solution For Meghalaya Electricity Crisis, State Must Prepare Long-Term Plans: High Court

Basit Amin Makhdoomi

27 July 2023 9:24 AM GMT

  • No Band-Aid Solution For Meghalaya Electricity Crisis, State Must Prepare Long-Term Plans: High Court

    "There is no band-aid solution which may be resorted to in this case," the Meghalaya High Court observed while hearing a PIL concerning the severe electricity shortfall in the State.A division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W. Diengdoh therefore asked the government to come up with a long-term plan to address the deficit.“A blueprint requires to be prepared as to...

    "There is no band-aid solution which may be resorted to in this case," the Meghalaya High Court observed while hearing a PIL concerning the severe electricity shortfall in the State.

    A division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W. Diengdoh therefore asked the government to come up with a long-term plan to address the deficit.

    A blueprint requires to be prepared as to the steps necessary to be taken with empirical studies on the expected demand...It is hoped that the outlines of a long-term plan to ensure that there is no shortfall of electricity in the State after, say, five or eight years, would be presented to Court when the matter appears next six weeks hence," it said.

    Earlier this month, the High Court had taken stern view of more than 50-60% shortfall in fulfilling electricity demand. It had urged the State to explore additional power sources from the national grid and other available avenues to reduce the prevailing shortfall. In this context the State submitted a status report on Tuesday, demonstrating that the shortfall in demand has now been reduced to 13%.

    While the Court acknowledged the progress made by the State, it added that the figure is still "quite significant" and the State would do well to ensure that the entirety of the shortfall is removed within a reasonable time. At the same time, the Court added, both the petitioner and the citizens should understand that these measures have a gestation gap and take some time and cannot be addressed overnight. "There are revenue and expense issues, infrastructure project issues and, at the end of the day, they are matters of policy."

    The Court also proposed to the State to explore the establishment of small water-based power plants, capitalizing on Meghalaya's hilly terrain, heavy rains, and abundant flowing water throughout the year. By adopting smaller hydel projects in suitable locations, the State can avoid extensive deforestation while harnessing the region's natural resources for sustainable power generation, the court said.

    To bridge the immediate demand-supply gap, the bench also suggested that the State should explore the possibility of availing power from the open grid or other Central power agencies with surplus electricity.

    The bench scheduled the next hearing on September 8, 2023, to review the progress made and to evaluate the State's efforts in implementing the long-term plan.

    Case Title: Flaming B. Marak vs. State of Meghalaya & 14 Ors.

    Click Here To Read/Download Order

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