Chandigarh: Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said that the greatest ever power scandal in the country was gradually unraveling itself in Punjab, where the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal handed over power projects to private companies on a platter, resulting in a loss of hundreds of crores of rupees to the state exchequer, which was being passed on to the PSPCL consumers.
Capt Amarinder announced that the Congress government will review these projects to make up for the losses and ensure that the state’s interests are protected which have otherwise been surrendered to the private power companies by the Akali-BJP government for obvious reasons, the Shiromani Akali Dal is infamous for.
“What was the logic in making commitment to private companies for buying power?” he asked, while adding, “with the result the state, which is already reeling under financial crisis, has to make payment to the companies without consuming their power.” He said, the brunt was being borne by the common consumers who were being slapped with exorbitant bills to facilitate payment to the private companies.
He pointed out, much against the prevailing practices and the recommendations of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission that the power projects to private companies should be allotted through competitive bidding, Sukhbir allotted these through ‘memorandum of understanding’ (MOU) route, which were heavily in favour of the private companies. “And now the state has to bear the brunt and the heavy financial losses”, he pointed out.
Referring to the Punjab State Power Corporation’s (PSPCL) inability to find buyers for its power produced by the private power companies, Capt Amarinder said, thanks to the terms and conditions dictated by the private power companies, the PSPCL power generation costs Rs 3.60 per unit, while in the national grid electricity is available for around Rs 3 per unit only.
The former Chief Minister said, he had consistently been raising the concern over the way the power projects were allotted to the private companies and his stand has now been vindicated. “Isn’t it strange and surprising that Sukhbir allowed the power companies such terms and conditions that while their interests remain protected, the PSPCL will have to bear the losses?” he asked.
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