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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Punjab: Amid power tariff row, Sunil Jakhar says ‘state law dept on case losing spree’

Jakhar’s broadside comes at a time when the Akali Dal has been accusing Punjab government for losing cases against private thermal plants and then burdening consumers with a power tariff hike.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh | Published: January 16, 2020 3:51:35 am
Punjab: Amid power tariff row, Sunil Jakhar says ‘state law dept on case losing spree’ Jakhar, sources said, even asked the Finance Secretary to calculate how much money was spent on the salaries and establishment of the Department of Law.

Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar on Wednesday took on the state government’s law department for putting Congress in a spot by losing important cases. Jakhar, who was part of CM Amarinder Singh’s pre-budget meeting with Congress legislators from Jalandhar, took on Punjab’s Law Department and sought to know from Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh and Finance Secretary Anirudh Tewari the total funds spent on the Law Department. When Jakhar lost his temper in the meeting, the CM and Advocate General Atul Nanda were present in the meeting.

Jakhar’s broadside comes at a time when the Akali Dal has been accusing Punjab government for losing cases against private thermal plants and then burdening consumers with a power tariff hike. On Wednesday, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal submitted a memorandum to Punjab Governor alleging a nexus between “ministers, Congress leaders and private thermal plants”.

A Congress MLA present in the meeting told The Indian Express, “Jakhar just took off when those present in the meeting suggested legal opinion for a matter pertaining to the government. He said the Law Department had lost important cases, putting the government in a spot. The PPCC chief kept detailing the cases like desecration, sand mining, transport and of late the power tariff issue in which the government was not able to get relief from various courts. Jakhar said it was the Law Department that was responsible for losing and the opposition was hitting at the government and the Congress was finding it difficult to answer the questions.”

It is also learnt that Jakhar even asked the Finance Secretary to calculate how much money was spent on the salaries and establishment of the Department of Law. Sources said after Jakhar’s outburst left those present in the meeting surprised.

The state Congress chief has been facing questions in the media of late as he was the one to raise the issue of “faulty” Power Purchase Agreements before the 2017 Assembly election. He had promised that once Congress was voted to power, it would annul the PPAs and the benefit would be transferred to the people of the state. But, on the contrary, the power has become costlier under the Congress regime.

After the recent hike in tariff, Jakhar had stated that he would take up the matter with the Chief Minister. He has also met the CM for several times after his claim, but nothing has come of the meetings.

Amarinder has been holding pre-budget meetings with party legislators from all districts. He met Congress MLAs and ministers from Gurdaspur and Jalandhar on Wednesday.

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