The main opposition party in Punjab, the Aam Admi Party, on Sunday asked the state government to scrap all power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed during the previous SAD-BJP dispensation, failing which they will launch a state-wide agitation against the Congress party government.
In a joint statement, the AAP alleged that the Congress made a “false promise” to people in their election manifesto, that all PPAs signed by former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal and ex-minister Bikram Majithia would be made afresh.
AAP state president Bhagwant Mann, along with his partymen, asked Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Congress chief Sunil Jakhar “why his government did not scrap the power purchase agreements, something they allege were signed at a higher rate by the previous SAD-BJP government”.
“What is stopping Amarinder Singh from taking action against the corrupt Akalis? Everybody knows about corruption done by the Badals, but the people of the state are more interested to know what actions the newly-elected Congress government has taken in the last seven months to rectify the damage done by Akalis,” Mann said.
The government had yesterday claimed that the PPAs signed by the power utility Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd. (PSPCL) with private companies during the SAD-BJP regime for the purchase of energy at a “higher” rate was one of the prime reasons behind the recent tariff hike.
Buttressing the AAP’s point further, the Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, Sukhpal Khaira, accused the chief minister of “preferring to shut down state-owned power plants instead of taking action against private players”.
The AAP leaders have demanded that a probe be initiated and action should be taken against those responsible. They have also threatened state-wide agitation if their demand was not fulfilled.
Under fire over the power tariff hike, the ruling Congress had blamed the previous SAD-BJP regime for putting the power sector into a “mess” and said the state government has ordered a third party audit of the power purchase agreements signed during previous regime to “unmask” the “scam”.