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British-era Sonapani project commissioned

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: The revived Sonapani mini hydro electric project (1.54 mw capacity), a British-era project, was formally commissioned by Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma here on Thursday.

The heritage hydel project was first commissioned in 1922 and after supplying electricity to Shillong for more than six decades, the project was shut down in April 1982 as the machines had outrun their utility.

However, the revival of the project was approved in 2001 and the construction work for the Rs 9.88 crore project began in 2004. Commercial power generation started last year.

The project was first conceived following a report prepared in 1908 by JW Meares, a British engineer, which pointed out that Shillong was one of the ‘worst lit’ hill stations, though it was the then Summer Capital of the New Province (Eastern Bengal and Assam).

Based on the Meares report, the Sonapani Mini Hydel Electric Project, was constructed and commissioned in 1922 by the Shillong Hydro Electric Supply Company Pvt. Ltd. which was owned by former West Bengal Chief Minister BC Roy.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma stressed on the need to address the power requirements of the State through renewable energy resources.

“Our requirement can be met through renewable energy resources and by leaving aside all those sources of power dependent on fossil fuel which contributes towards global warming,” the Chief Minister added.

According to Dr Sangma, the Government is investing a lot in the power sector since it can create lot of employment opportunities for the youth of the State.

Power Minister AT Mondal recollected that the State was once selling power to other neighbouring states but now the power demand has gone up since there are a lot of industries in the State now. (With inputs from Agencies)

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