As Delhi continued to reel under the intense heat wave and the persistent power cuts, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal took on former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit blaming her government for the acute power crisis and suffering of people in Delhi.
Addressing the media after an emergency meeting with Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, the power minister held the “massive policy paralysis, poor decision making” of the previous Delhi government, responsible for the problems in power sector.
“A holistic vision and plan for Delhi has been non-existent for a decade. Lack of decision making, lack of investment in infrastructure and lack of forward planning in last 12 years is responsible for the problem,” Goyal said.
Delhi has been reeling under long power cuts ranging from one to six hours for over a week after a devastating storm severely damaged major power transmission lines across the city.
“Problem persisted even as the mother of the MP of the area, which is facing the worst power crisis, was in charge,” Goyal said.
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He said that it was unfortunate that some parties were politicising the Delhi power crisis issue. “The strong storm few days back also contributed to the power crisis in Delhi,” he maintained.
Goyal assured that the Centre will monitor and assist the Delhi government to take decisions and action. “There is adequate power in the entire system, we can provide as much power as any state requires,” said the power minister.
Goyal said that the Petroleum minister has agreed to release gas from Bawana to ensure more power. “Besides, NTPC has agreed to release as much power as required.”
Goyal said the Central government will make available fuel for generating 400 MW additional power in Delhi by 8 PM tonight.
“The Delhi government had asked for gas from NTPC for generating 400 MW additional electricity by 8 pm tonight or late tonight,” Goyal told reporters here.
This gas is for the Bawana power project which has a capacity of 1,500 MW but is generating only 290 MW.
“There is no shortage of power; only transmission and distribution is a problem,” Goyal said.
He added that there will be a bulletin on power situation by the Delhi government everyday.
Explaining the steps to be taken for handle the power mess, Goyal said, “Discoms in Delhi will remain operational 24×7 and officials will be available on mobile and landlines. There will be planned load outage and load shedding in Delhi.”
Earlier in the day, while talking reporters before the meeting with Jung, Goyal had said: “We are suffering because of the inaction of the previous government.”
The power situation had further deteriorated on Monday as a number of power transmission lines maintained by Delhi Transco Ltd (DTL), a Delhi government utility, had tripped.
The power outages have triggered protests by various political parties.
Holding the Centre responsible for the acute power crisis in Delhi, over 20 AAP MLAs on Tuesday staged a protest outside Union Minister Harsh Vardhan’s house in East Delhi demanding urgent steps by the Centre to improve electricity supply in the city.
Senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia said it was the responsibility of the Centre to ensure proper governance including facilitating basic amenities to the people in the city as Delhi is currently under Central rule. “BJP is in power at the Centre and Vardhan is a Union Minister as well as Delhi BJP President. It is the responsibility of the ruling party at the Centre to address the problem of power supply in Delhi. That is why we have come here,” Sisodia, who led the AAP MLAs to Vardhan’s house, told reporters.
Vardhan later rejected the criticism, saying Congress and AAP should share the responsibility for the power situation in the city.
“Congress was in power for 15 years. The AAP was in power for 49 days. They are to be blamed for the situation not the BJP as our party has not come to power in Delhi yet,” Vardhan said.
Congress as well as AAP have been targeting BJP for the power cuts, saying the Central government cannot escape responsibility.
On Monday, Congress MLAs and ex-MLAs had held a protest at Delhi Secretariat locking up the Chief Secretary and other bureaucrats in a meeting room at the Delhi Secretariat for nearly two hours.
(With PTI inputs)