The power ministers of NE states have unanimously urged the Centre to set up an alternative transmission line between Tripura and West Bengal via Bangladesh to strengthen inter-regional transmission network.
Tripura power minister Manik Dey told the media on Sunday that members of the northeast regional power committee (NERPC) who held a meeting in Guwahati on Saturday, has written to the ministry for an alternative transmission network for the region.
"It will not only establish connectivity with the national grid to provide upgraded connectivity in the transmission system but will also lessen the connection length of 500km. The region is now connected with Bongaigoan grid passing through the high terrain and forest land. The alternative line, up to West Bengal via Bangladesh, through plain land will help the region have stable and reliable grid connection," Dey said.
The NERPC contemplated that erection of a transmission line through Bangladesh will further boost friendly relations with Bangladesh and offer them some benefit in transmission of power from the high-voltage double circuit line of India in its territory.
The Tripura government has demanded an immediate alternative to the US dollar payment for gas purchase by the power generating companies and not to allow any further increase in the gas prices till further modifications by the Centre.
"We use domestic gas that belongs to India, but suddenly in 2010 the then government introduced payment in dollar to natural gas exploration companies like ONGC and GAIL. It is not imported gas that we use, so the payment must be necessarily made in Indian currency only," Dey argued.
He, however, stated that distribution utilities were under the burden of accumulated outstanding dues to central public sector undertakings and other power generating companies because of continuous hike in power tariff.
Dey suggested paying one-time, interest-free loan to the states to meet the outstanding dues. Similarly, to reduce the tariff burden from the consumer, Dey proposed to pay the entire cost of Agra-Biswanath Chariali 800-KV transmission line from power system development funds.