No rule that prohibits suspension, if necessary: MeECL CMD

Shillong, Aug 11: In response to allegations claiming that the suspension of a Resident Engineer placed at the Myntdu-Leshka Hydro Project was ‘unjustified’, the CMD of Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited, A. Nikhla, on Tuesday, stated that there were sufficient reasons for the suspension order.

She told Shillong Mail that the MeECL abides by the rules of the state government, and there is no such provision for constitution of any committee to “look into anything before taking action as deemed appropriate”.

The CMD clarified that the step was undertaken because of serious financial implications. The corporation is now losing Rs 24 lakhs per day, she said, adding, “After 3 months, what will happen in the winter, if we do not bounce back, does it mean that the state will go half black? So that’s why it has become serious.”

Nikhla also revealed that she had not received any reports regarding past failures of the spare transformer, which was used after the original transformer malfunctioned.

She questioned as to why the resident engineer M. L. Pohshna had not informed her if the sensors placed at the Myntdu-Leshka Hydro Project were not functioning. “There are sensors there, how come none of the sensors detected (the malfunctioning). The Myntdu-Leshka is one of the… sophisticated project. They have sensors, a machine of that magnitude can’t go wrong without indications,” she stated.

“Now, after you have reported, I failed to take action, then it blew (the transformer), then still they get suspended. Then it would have been wrong. Because you have done your duty but I have not done anything, then it is a different matter,” she justified, adding that no coherent reasoning could be made out on why two transformers blew up in a span of 5 days.

The CMD also revealed that the incident was brought to her notice only in a power committee meeting through informal sources.

“Before this, last year, a Unit I stage IV Umiam also went bust in April, it was never brought to my notice. Finally, when COVID happened and I started getting phone calls from insurance (companies), I realised. When questions were asked, again the uncertainty, it seemed to me that there was no clarity on how this happened,” she said.

She added that an inquiry on the matter has been conducted and it will be submitted to the government.

Regarding the protest held earlier by the MeECL Engineers’ Association, she stated that the government had prohibited any activities that might affect in the delivery of essential services to the people of the state and therefore, disciplinary proceedings will be taken.

Nikhla also questioned as to why the particular suspension has garnered attention. “There have been many suspensions in the past MeECL, why was there no protest?” she asked.
She stated that the resident engineer will be given the opportunity to clarify his stand at the disciplinary proceedings, where an appointed inquiring authority will carry out the judgement.

“I will not be the inquiring authority, I can only appoint. The laws have been made in such a manner – it’s a self-determining mechanism, I cannot be the judge and jury on my own. I will only be appointing people,” she stated.

Speaking on the loan the corporation has requested as a part of the center’s COVID-19 bailout package, she stated that the matter was supposed to be discussed at the Cabinet last week but it has been postponed to this week. “I hope at the earliest, because I have been getting calls, I inherited a huge debt so naturally, people are worried about their money,” she said.