Nagaland Power sector requires an estimated Rs. 69cr for 2018-19

Nagaland Power sector requires an estimated Rs. 69cr for 2018-19
Technicians at work at the Nagarjan 132kV sub-station. (Morung Photo by Soreishim Mahong)

 

  • 9.8cr was the fund allocation in 2017-18

  • Revenue collection sees slight improvement

 

Imkong Walling
Dimapur | April 18

Dwindling Nagaland State Plan (Budget) allocation to the power sector in Nagaland has remained a consistent trend over the past one decade. From an allocation of Rs.124cr in 2008-09, the arrow on the allocation graph has only curved downwards year after year touching a low of Rs.7cr in 2015-16.

 

It curved upwards a wee bit the next year (2016-17) to touch Rs.12cr, only to fall to Rs. 9.8cr in the just ended 2017-18 financial year.

 

For the ensuing 2018-19 financial year, the department has proposed a “budget estimate” of Rs. 69.1cr as the requirement.

 

Officials of the Department of Power Nagaland (Nagaland) when queried as to the response of the government to the projected requirement replied it would depend on the magnanimity of the government.

 

The department had projected a requirement of Rs. 140cr in 2015-16, while the total allocation at the end of the budget year stood at Rs. 7cr. The total allocation for 2016-17 was Rs.12cr against a projected requirement of Rs. 265cr. (for older records read http://morungexpress.com/nagaland-budget-2016-rs-12-cr-proposed-for-power-sector/)

 

The estimated requirement in 2017-18 was surprisingly Rs. 8cr and the year ended with a total allocation of Rs. 9.8cr.

 

The plunge from Rs. 265cr to Rs. 8cr in requirement from the previous year was attributed to Central schemes. The Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) and the subsequent Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) have been two Central programmes that have extended much needed life support into the state’s ailing power sector. The R-APDRP began implementation in 2016, while the latter made a delayed start in January 2018.

 

Discounting the Centre’s aid, state government finance has remained essentially negligible at the cost heavy wear and tear on the electricity distribution infrastructure.

 

According to DoPN officials, the neglect by the government over the years has translated into soaring operational and maintenance costs as demand increases. Department officials over the years have maintained that if the state government continues to ignore the power sector, a time would come when routine maintenance would run into hundreds of crores and damage incurred irreversible.

 

A similar tone was echoed higher up in the bureaucratic hierarchy when the Commissioner & Secretary, Power, speaking at a DoPN programme at Chumukedima in August 2017 described the power sector as the most neglected in the state in terms of annual budgetary allocation.

 

As for the government’s response, the power sector did not feature much in the Budget session which concluded in March. The CM was though reported as stating that transmission infrastructure for power supply to Kohima, Dimapur and Peren districts will be more stable.

 

While the electricity scenario overall has been bleak, the revenue collection segment has witnessed as slight improvement. As per the records, the state spent approximately Rs. 282cr in power purchase during 2017-18 to return with a revenue collection of Rs. 116.4cr. “If we factor in the collection from power trading, the total touches Rs. 129cr,” commented one official.

 

In 2016-17, the purchase cost was approximately Rs.281cr and the return was Rs.112cr, inclusive of revenue from power trading. In 2015-16, the purchase cost stood at Rs. 249cr with a collection of Rs.112.7cr. (for older records http://morungexpress.com/nagaland-nearly-1000cr-loss-energy-revenue-past-decade/ )

 

The slight improvement happened to coincide with the implementation of the R-APDRP with an official commenting, “The introduction of online payment (besides others that came with the package) could be a factor.” Further, the official said that the department have made it a point to publicise defaulters-list, which also includes many government departments and undertakings. (http://morungexpress.com/nagaland-consumers-owe-100-cr-power-department/)