July 1, 2021 8:17:52 pm
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday announced that it will gherao Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s farmhouse near New Chandigarh on July 3 to protest against the power shortage in the state.
The announcement was made by AAP MLA and Youth Wing state president Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, while addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here on Thursday.
Meet Hayer said that the Aam Aadmi Party demands uninterrupted and affordable power supply to the people and the farmers of Punjab. “There is no such thing as a government in Punjab. Today, all sections, including farmers, unemployed people and employees are protesting against the Punjab and Union governments. They are now being forced to hold dharnas just to get electricity. Lack of power supply is affecting agriculture and in the scorching heat, it has become difficult for the people to live in their homes without electricity,” said Meet Hayer.
He alleged that the main reason for the high cost and shortage of power was the wrong power purchase agreements made by the Badal government with the private thermal plants, and the non-cancellation of the agreements by the present Congress government.
Meet Hayer said that so far, the government had paid a fixed charge of Rs 20,000 crore to private thermal plants, out of which Rs 5,900 crore had been paid without getting any supply. He said that now that the farmers were in need of electricity the most during the paddy season, both the units of Talwandi Sabo Private Thermal Plant were shut down; the first unit of this plant of 660 MW was shut down on March 8, while the second unit was shut down on June 25.
“Presently, Punjab is 97 per cent dependent on private thermal plants for power generation and only 3 per cent power is being generated from government plants. But even for this 3 per cent power, the government thermal plants are proving to be far more efficient than private thermal plants,” he asserted.
Accusing Captain Amarinder Singh of colluding with the Badals and the private companies, Meet Hayer said that despite his promises, the Punjab CM had not taken any step towards canceling the wrong power purchase agreements reached during the Badal government.
Replying to a question, Meet Hayer clarified that the announcement of 300 units of free electricity per month by AAP’s National Convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal would effectively mean 600 units in Punjab, as the state gets its electricity bill every two months. He also claimed that the cancellation or renewal of power purchase agreements, if the AAP is voted to power in 2022, would make the entire power supply cheaper, which would benefit traders, businessmen, and industrialists.
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