July 11, 2021 4:43:47 am
AAP, the main opposition party in Punjab, Saturday found itself cornered as the ruling Congress and other opposition parties – Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party – attacked the former’s government in Delhi over its petition in the Supreme Court, which was later withdrawn, seeking closure of 10 power plants in three states, including Punjab.
The Delhi government on Friday withdrew from the apex court its plea seeking directions to 10 coal-fired thermal power plants in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, which allegedly contributes to air pollution in the national capital, to immediately cease operations till Flue Gas Desulphurization technology is installed to reduce harmful emission.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been raising electricity issues in the state for the past few days, alleged that the AAP government in Delhi wanted the thermal power plants in Punjab to shut down amid the electricity crisis.
“Today, forces bent-upon Punjab’s destruction are clearly visible … Delhi govt wants Punjab’s lifeline, our thermal power plants, to shut down in the middle of a power crisis leaving Punjabis helpless in this simmering heat and our farmers to suffer in this paddy-sowing season,” the cricketer-turned-politician tweeted.
BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh lambasted Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal for trying to shut down thermal power plants in Punjab on the pretext of saving Delhi. In a statement, he said Kejriwal had always been “plotting against the interests of Punjab” and now he was trying to “bring the state to ruin”. Chugh called upon people of Punjab to reject Kejriwal’s party comprehensively in the coming Assembly elections. “Kejriwal has done a serious insult to Punjab and Punjab must pay him back,” he said.
Shiromani Akali Dal’s senior leader Daljit Singh Cheema accused Kejriwal of “betraying” the people of Punjab by filing the petition. It was a “big conspiracy” to further worsen the power crisis in the state, he alleged.
Punjab is reeling under an unprecedented power shortage with urban and rural areas facing frequent load shedding and voltage fluctuations.
Sidhu, in another tweet, blamed the Badals for signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) during the SAD-BJP rule in Punjab. “The Badals-signed PPAs with thermal power plants and (Bikram Singh) Majithia as minister of renewable energy (2015-17) signed PPAs for 25 years for solar power at Rs 5.97 to 17.91 per unit to loot Punjab knowing cost of solar is decreasing 18 per cent per year since 2010 and is Rs 1.99 per unit today,” said Sidhu.
Meanwhile, the AAP’s senior leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Punjab Assembly, Harpal Singh Cheema, termed the allegations as politically motivated.
In a statement, Cheema said that the Delhi government had not made any such appeal in the court. He alleged that the Shiromani Akali Dal had “sold the interests” of the people of Punjab to the private companies by making faulty power agreements. “Due to his collusion with the Badals, Captain Amarinder Singh never took any action regarding wrong power agreements reached during the Badal government,” Cheema said.
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