Facing criticism both from within the party as well as from the opposition over high electricity tariff, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Monday said his government will renegotiate power purchase agreements with private players, which he said the previous SAD-BJP government had signed to “defraud” the state and its people.
“Given the shortfall in production by the state-owned power plants at Lehra Mohabbat and Ropar, the government would work around the existing arrangements with the private players to make the power rates more affordable while ensuring that the peak demand of 13,000 Mega Watts is effectively met,” a government statement said.
“Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said his government would renegotiate the PPAs, which the erstwhile Akali government had signed, to defraud the state and its people,” the statement further said.
Amarinder made announcement while addressing the Punjab Youth Congress here. It comes a month after CM said that renegotiating of the PPAs depended on the Supreme Court. The Congress had made pre poll promise that once elected it would cancel the PPAs that were burdening the people of Punjab.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had planned to raise this issue in the budget session starting February 20 The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) too had sought an independent probe into the matter, alleging that the state extended “undue benefits” of Rs 2,500 crore to private power plants. The SAD had accused the state government of “deliberate laxity” in pursuing disputes involving Rs 2,500 crore on account of coal washing charges.
Through the coal washing process, impurities like ash, soil, rock are removed from coal. Due to these charges, power rates in Punjab were increased by 36 paise a unit from January 1 for domestic consumers.
The CM had earlier said that his government would bring a white paper in the state assembly’s monsoon session to expose the “fraud committed” by the Akalis.
At a meeting of MPs and MLAs last month, Congress Rajya Sabha member MP Partap Singh Bajwa had asked the CM to revisit the PPAs signed by the previous SAD-BJP government.
Earlier addressing the PYC leaders, Amarinder said state’s financial position was on its way to consolidation as a result of his government’s efforts of the last three years and “any attempt to scuttle the momentum would not be tolerated”.
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