Since 2008, the Congress-led Mizoram government has signed nine MoUs with five different developers to build hydro-power projects that are slated to have a combined capacity of 2411 MW, said Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla.
He however added in his reply to opposition MLA Lalruatkima’s unstarred question in the assembly that none of the projects were allotted on the basis of competitive bidding, explaining the government relies on the state’s 2010 hydro-power policy to decide who gets which project.
Lal Thanhawla also admitted “work is not going as fast as expected” and that the government has asked for monthly progress reports from the developers.
For example, work on the 80 MW Bairabi dam project officially began in 1982. Till now, it has seen at least four different companies, including a PSU, getting involved in it. But little work has gone into actually building the dam or generating power from it.
The state’s Power and Electricity Department itself admits just 0.6% of the state’s roughly 4500 MW potential in the sector has been realised, and that too mostly from 10 mini HEPs and one small HEP.
While some have long been wary of pushing for too many dams in the state, criticism over the slow pace of work and what some term the “non-serious” stand of the government on HEPs has been pouring in from various quarters including from opposition parties and non-government entities, partly because the Congress made developing hydro-power one of its main poll-pitches during the last assembly elections.