The Meghalaya government has revived two hydroelectric projects of 900 MW, giving approval to two private companies to develop them on built-own-operate -transfer basis.

The Hyderabad-based Athena Power will develop the 450 MW Kynshi Stage-I Project, while Jai Prakash Power Ventures Ltd will execute the 450 MW Kynshi Stage-II project - both over Kynshi river in West Khasi Hills district.

The projects, along with three others, were kept in suspension for two years after several protests.

The protesting groups had alleged that the government had violated the state’s power policy by not going for international competitive bidding to optimise benefits.

State Power Minister Mukul Sangma said that an estimated investment of about Rs 7,000 crore would be required for the two projects and the MoU with the companies would be signed soon.

“The companies would provide 12 per cent free power to the state government, of which 2 per cent would be provided to the local inhabitants,” Mr. Sangma said after a state Cabinet meeting which approved the decision last night.

Mr. Sangma said the decision was in accordance with the recommendations of the empowered committee headed by the chief secretary which looked into the deals inked with the power companies.

He said the government was convinced about revenue benefits and employment prospects of the Kynshi project.

The agreement with the companies would be for 40 years, after which the state would own the projects which would open up job opportunities for around 5,000 people.

Mr. Sangma said the work on the projects would begin within six months of signing of the MoU.

The 85 MW Mawphu Project would be developed by state-run North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), according to the cabinet approval.

However, the government kept in abeyance two other projects - the 60 MW Myntdu Leshka Stage II and the 260 MW Umngot power projects - saying all stakeholders would be involved in discussions before taking any decision on them.

“We have received some representations from NGOs on the two projects. We have decided to keep the projects in abeyance and involve all stakeholders and the NGOs in deliberations before we decide to go ahead,” the Power minister said.

He said the discussions would be aimed at ensuring that there were no discrepancies while executing the projects.

Earlier, the Joint Action Committee, a conglomerate of four NGOs, had decided to organise a hunger strike protesting the government’s move to hand over the execution of the two projects to private companies.