Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal Sunday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2022, to allow for widespread consultation with all stakeholders, including states, farmers and farm unions.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the SAD president said in the meantime the government could refer the Bill to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) so that all objections would be taken into account.
The SAD president also drew the PM’s attention to the fact that when the Central government decided to repeal the three farm laws on December 9, 2021, it assured that it would not go ahead with enacting the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2022, without holding prior consultation with all stakeholders.
However, Sukhbir said, the Amendment Bill was being brought in Parliament on Monday without holding any discussion with the stakeholders. “There is a large-scale feeling among states that their rights will be trampled upon if the Amendment Bill is enacted in its current form. There is also the question of federal rights of states being usurped by the Bill which will undermine their authority. Electricity per se is also on the concurrent list and within the ambit of state powers.
Considering all this, it would be in the fitness of things if the Centre initiates detailed discussions with the states and all other stakeholders to address their concerns before bringing the Bill to vote in Parliament,” he said.
The SAD president also brought it to the PM’s attention the fact that the country had witnessed huge protests earlier over the three farm laws which were eventually repealed. There were apprehensions that if the Amendment Bill was enacted in its current form, it would lead to further protests and unrest in the country. “This should be avoided at all costs.” Conveying the sentiments of farmers and disadvantaged sections of society, Sukhbir said the farmers were of the view that the Electricity Amendment Bill would be detrimental to their interests.