Power supply to Garo hills restored

Shillong, Sept. 23: Power supply to the entire Garo hills in Meghalaya was restored this evening after the region had plunged into total darkness since Friday night.

From 11pm on Friday, the Garo hills region was left in the dark following a breakdown in the power transmission line.

"Power supply to Garo hills has been restored this evening after repairs were carried out," state power minister Abu Taher Mondal said over phone.

Since yesterday morning, Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) workers were engaged in restoring power supply.

Officials said the 126km-long 132KV Mawlai-Nongstoin-Nangalbibra-Rongkhon line was disrupted by lightning accompanied by a heavy downpour, leading to the power failure.

The breakdown occurred in two locations on the Nangalbibra-Rongkhon segment after crossing the West Khasi Hills.

Power disruption to Garo hills has been a perennial problem, and since January this year, there have already been five instances where Garo hills plunged into darkness.

For several years now, Garo hills has been dependent on the 132KV line, which is prone to disruptions.

The maintenance of this line is a difficult affair, especially during the rainy season, as at times, workers had to travel for four to five hours on foot to reach the destination for repairing the snags.

As an alternative, in 2007, the state government had sanctioned the 132-KV 92.15km-long Agia-Nangalbibra transmission line at a cost of Rs 43 crore. However, a litigation has delayed the completion of the project.

The litigation arose after the state government disagreed to pay the compensation of Rs 78 lakh demanded by a disgruntled landowner in Assam.

Nearly 26km of the line falls within Assam territory, while the rest is in Meghalaya.

Lambasting the government for the power failure, the BJP Meghalaya unit said the government should first provide sufficient power for domestic use before harping on industrial development.

"A government, which cannot provide sufficient electricity for domestic use, should not lecture on bringing in industrial development in the state," BJP general secretary Dipayan Chakraborty said.

Stating that the power department is in the doldrums, he said students in particular are suffering because of it.