State feels ‘powerful’ as Deputy CM Sukhbir takes oath

With an eye on the ensuing Lok Sabha polls,the ruling SAD-BJP combine in Punjab tried everything in the book to reap maximum benefits of the function of Sukhbir Badal's coronation as Deputy Chief Minister.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Bathinda | Published:January 22, 2009 12:30 am

With an eye on the ensuing Lok Sabha polls,the ruling SAD-BJP combine in Punjab tried everything in the book to reap maximum benefits of the function of Sukhbir Badal’s coronation as Deputy Chief Minister.

The ceremony was telecast live on a number of channels and to ensure that the “show of strength” reached maximum audience,a state — reeling under acute powercuts

(of as long as six hours in a day for months on end) — had no load-shedding today.

Sources said Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) chairman HS Brar had instructed officials to make sure there were no powercuts today. And to ensure this,they added,PSEB overdrew power from the national grid at a higher price,procured 20 lakh units from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and reduced the supply to tubewell connections from six hours to four hours.

“Earlier,we used to get power supply for tubewells from 10 am to 4 pm,but today it was from noon to 4 pm,” said Harkaran Singh,a resident of Bhaini village in this district.

Drawing a comparison with the US President Barack Obama’s oath-taking ceremony and Sukhbir’s elevation,a PSEB official said: “The frequency of the national grid was 49.2 hertz while the oath ceremony of Obama was on. As soon as the ceremony was over,it jumped to 49.8 hertz,despite the fact that the event was being held outside India.”

PSEB chairman HS Brar,who also attended the swearing-in,tried to disassociate the development with the coronation ceremony. “We supply 133 lakh units of power to the states daily,including Jammu and Kashmir,Arunachal,Himachal Pradesh,Rajasthan and Maharashtra,as per our banking arrangement obligations. Today,there was less demand by those states,” claimed Brar.

Asked about PSEB “overdrawing” power from the national grid,he said,“We were a little careful today”. He also claimed that “20 lakh units procured from Himachal Pradesh were due to Punjab as per an earlier agreement”. Himachal Pradesh in one of the states from which Punjab procures power during summer and returns in the winter season.

Brar denied that power supply to tubewells was reduced. “If that happened,it must be due to some generation problem,” he claimed. He,however,was non-committal if the power-cut free scheme would continue. “I hope this continues,” he added.

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