Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Thursday chaired the General Body meeting of the Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency (APEDA) by virtue of being its Chairman after a gap of almost 12 years. The last meeting was held in 2003 under the then Chief Minister Gegong Apang. The meeting was also attended by Power Minister Tamiyo Taga, Vice Chairman of the General Body, APEDA Chairman Jarkar Gamlin, Chief Secretary (i/c) Satya Gopal, Commissioner Power Ashish Kundra, Registrar NERIST Dr R P Bhattacharjee, APEDA Director Marki Loya and others. The meeting discussed in detail the activities taken up by APEDA that ranges from tapping renewable energy sources like biomass, solar and wind to hydro power for efficient management of energy conservation measures in the state. While appreciating Gamlin for initiating to conduct the meeting, Khandu said regular meetings of the General Body should be made mandatory to take forward the goals for which APEDA was instituted in 1996 through a Memorandum of Association.
He called for a concrete vision and roadmap for APEDA so that the agency sets goals for itself and lives up to its role in channelizing non-conventional energy for public consumption. Khandu said that APEDA has a big role to play in implementation of the UJALA – UnnatJyoti by Affordable LEDs for All– scheme in the state, which is all set to be launched soon. He lauded the steps taken by the agency for successful implementation of the scheme that aims to save energy consumption through distribution of LED bulbs, tube-lights and fans to consumers at subsidized rates. Expressing concern over the failure percentage of small and mini hydro projects implemented by APEDA, the Chief Minister stressed for a comprehensive policy to run the projects successfully after commissioning. It was informed that only 30 odd such hydro projects are in function today from the 100 odd projects implemented. The main causes for defunct projects were cited as lack of skilled manpower to run these projects, high maintenance cost, lack of revenue generation and scarcity of spare parts.
The General Body opined that feasibility study may be conducted sincerely and only projects that can be sustainably operated be taken up. Khandu also advised APEDA to focus on tapping wind and solar energy wherever feasible. Power Minister Taga was of the view that only micro hydro projects of 1 MW or above may be taken up. He also suggested that all off-grid villages may be targeted by APEDA for electrification through renewable sources. APEDA Chairman Gamlin sought help of the government in strengthening the agency with manpower and infrastructure including in the districts. Discussing in detail on the agenda put up before the General Body that includes amendment of the APEDA MoA, creation of posts, creations of additional divisions, etc, it was decided that all submissions may be submitted to concerned departments like Administrative Reforms, Power and Finance for vetting and final decision. The Chief Minister advised APEDA officials to follow up with the concerned departments and convene another meeting of the General Body soon for final decisions.