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Is the Power sector turning into a new front of ‘power politics’?

Nagaland News

Arunachal has highest hydro power potentials; what about Nagaland?

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, JULY 10: Contradictory statements from either side indicate that things may not be very smooth between the Centre and the NDPP-BJP regime in Nagaland.
Lately in Guwahati, Nagaland Power Minister KG Kenye reportedly expressed disappointment that no new power project is being sanctioned by the Centre. The emphasis was also laid on the point that this has been the fate notwithstanding much effort by the Nagaland Government.
On the other hand, in Delhi, the Union Government has given clear hints that during the forthcoming Budget ~ the first Budget post-2024 historic election ~ the Centre could support equity participation by State Governments in the Northeast for hydropower projects. The details suggest the equity share could be around 24% of the total project equity, subject to a cap of Rs 750 crore per project initially.
It has also been made clear that the Northeastern States that wish to have a joint venture for such projects are likely to be given financial assistance for their stake.
Renewable energy is intermittent in nature and requires balancing power for grid stability. The Centre also expects a significant contribution from the hydropower sector for its targets aimed at reducing emissions intensity. The Government at the national level wants to achieve about 50% of installed power capacity from non-fossil-fuel sources.
But why is Kenye protesting? The technical and administrative questions can be raised some other day. But first the political question: Is the Nagaland Power Minister’s complaint a post-Lok Sabha debacle phenomenon?
Things do not look ‘very smooth’ between NDPP and BJP as of now. The saffron party high command was not quite pleased the manner that a ‘gift’ was dispatched from Nagaland vis-à-vis new Lok Sabha MP S Supongmeren Jamir for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
The BJP leaders’ interpretation of the mandate 2024 in Nagaland is that a local government’s nominee was defeated. So, the refrain being: do not blame the national politics vis-à-vis Hindutva. One central leader was very specific: “A grand Ram temple in Ayodhya in far off Uttar Pradesh was never a threat or a challenge to Christians to practice their religion in the backyards of Naga hills.”
In the Guwahati meet, Kenye requested Union Power Minister Manoharlal Khattar to give Northeastern States some relaxation in the guidelines for implementing Central-sponsored schemes, with particular reference to the Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS).
He also reiterated adequate support for the pending request of Nagaland for the Lineman Training Centre building infrastructure under the Capacity Building and Institutional Strengthening (CBIS) of North Eastern Region Power System Improvement Project.
Left to the citizens, the power situation in the State is precarious. Dimapur is worse. The priority should be undisturbed grid connectivity and adequate power supply.
Closer home, a parliamentary panel report stated that identified capacity in Arunachal Pradesh is the highest among States having hydro power potential. Where does Nagaland stand?
Sources say solar and hydropower can actually do leaps and bounds in the 8 Northeast States.
There are also efforts to harness wind energy. Here again, where does Nagaland stand? According to one analysis data, Sikkim’s Tarey Bhir and Gagtok, Arunachal’s Bomdila and
Dibrugarh in Assam could be used to generate considerable amounts of power ~ wind energy ~ at a height of 10 metres. Is Nagaland catching up with these new trends?
The Government of India has already taken significant strides in sustainably harnessing the massive reservoir of energy from the region. The State of Nagaland should be ready with full scale awareness about its potentials and a plan to work on it.
Sometime back, in wind power, Nagaland showed ‘zero potential’ as per a Government of India document whereas data showed Arunachal Pradesh had potential of 274 MW – even higher than Assam. In small hydro power, Nagaland showed 182.18 MW and in solar power – 7290 MW.
In the table, Mizoram showed a total power generation capacity of 11,392.9 MW but Nagaland’s figures stood at 8934.18 MW.
If these figures reflect something, it is time to pull up the sleeves.