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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Sukhbir questions timing of power deal review order: ‘Why wait 4 and a half yrs’

Punjab has grappled with an acute shortage of power throughout this power season with the state administration having to purchase power from Power Exchange, besides having to impose mandatory day-offs for heavy industries.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
Updated: July 30, 2021 10:07:54 am
Shiromani Akali Dal, Sukhbir Singh BadalSukhbir also rolled out his party's campaign called 'Gall Punjab Di' and said he would hold seven hundred public meetings and address each and every section of the society during his 100-day 'yatra'. (file photo)

THE SHIROMANI Akali Dal (SAD) Thursday questioned the timing behind the Punjab government’s decision to review all power pacts signed by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) with private distributors even as he claimed that agreements were signed according to the format given by the then UPA government led by Manmohan Singh.

The previous SAD-BJP regime has faced heavy criticism in the last few weeks for having signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), the terms of which, according to Punjab Advocate General, Atul Nanda, was biased heavily in favour of the private distribution companies. Punjab has grappled with an acute shortage of power throughout this power season with the state administration having to purchase power from Power Exchange, besides having to impose mandatory day-offs for heavy industries.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, on Thursday, however, stated that the power pacts signed by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government had been drawn up on the format which was made by the Manmohan Singh government. “We had signed these PPAs to purchase power at 2.86 per unit. If the present government can get power at a cheaper rate, then they must do it,” Badal said at the sidelines of a function in Bathinda where he welcome several Congress leaders into Akali Dal.

“If they think the agreements are wrong, then why were they not cancelled during the last four-and-a-half years? If you want to scrap these agreements, do it. We have no problem. But arrange power. It is easy to scrap agreements but how will you bring power and at which rate. The power utility bought power at Rs 13-14 per unit this year. Will you buy power at 13-14 per unit and then give it to consumers at Rs 20 per unit,” he asked.

SAD president also trained guns at the Congress for not sharing the complete record of the SC Scholarship scam case with the CBI and added that this only proved that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was continuing to back the corrupt and did not want to provide justice to lakhs of Dalit students whose “future has been been destroyed by Social Welfare Minister, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot”.

Speaking about the alleged Rs 64 crore SC Scholarship scam, Badal said it was shocking that the state government was stonewalling the CBI request. Condemning the CM for adopting an anti-Dalit attitude, the SAD president said Dharamsot should have been sacked immediately after the CBI registered a case against him on the complaint of the Union social justice and empowerment ministry on June 30. He said a criminal case should also be registered against Dharamsot.

The SAD president also announced that they would order a time-bound inquiry into the Rs 400 crore JCT Electronics liquidation scam if the party was voted to power in the state. Badal said it was shocking that Industries Minister, Sunder Sham Arora, had offloaded the company along with its 31 acres of prime land in Mohali, to his cronies after bypassing both the Punjab Infotech Department as well as the Finance Department. He said not only was the Rs 161 crore unearned profit, which was to be paid upon sale of the property, halved but it was sold at an average land cost of Rs 5,000 per yard as against the market rate of Rs 30,000 per yard.

Demanding an immediate sacking of the industries minister as well, Badal said a CBI or a High Court-monitored probe should be held into the scam to ensure all big wigs, including officers, who were responsible for it are brought to justice.

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