Alleging a nexus between BJP politicians and four private power generators — Adani, Essar, Tata and China Light Company — the Congress on Thursday said that there was a “huge scam in power purchase and bungling” in Gujarat’s power sector that have led to costly electricity in the state — the highest in the country.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused the BJP government of causing huge loss to the public exchequer by purchasing power from private power producers at Rs 24.67 per unit at a time when the government-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) was supplying power at Rs. 2.88 to Rs. 3.17 per unit.
The Congress leader said that between 2002 and 2014, when Narendra Modi was the chief minister, the government purchased electricity from four private companies — Adani, Essar, Tata and China Light Power — at an inflated cost of Rs 62,549 crore. He said that while Adani sold power to Gujarat government at Rs 24.67 per unit, the same company supplied power to Haryana at a much cheaper rate — between Rs 2 to Rs 3 per unit. “This indicated some kind of a nexus between the ruling party politicians in the state and private power companies,” he added.
According to him, in 2013-14 and 2015-16, the Gujarat government purchased electricity for Rs 26,195 crore — Rs 10,896 crore to Adani, Rs 4,842 crore to Essar, Rs 8,491 crore to Tata and Rs 1,966 crore to China Light Power.
By buying electricity at higher rates from private producers, instead of buying it from the NTPC, which supplies power at cheaper rates, the BJP government in Gujarat has squandered the public money and benefited the private companies, he said.
He rubbished the claim that Gujarat is a power surplus state by calling it “absolute falsehood”. According to him, the total installed capacity of government-owned power plants in the state was 8,641 MW, but the power plants were operating at a low level — 33 per cent to 38 per cent — of their full capacity. “By keeping the generating capacity of power plants low, the BJP government met power requirement of the state from private power producers. The BJP government is therefore benefiting private operators only. Had the state-owned power plants operated at their full capacity, the government would not have to buy power from private firms, and the money squandered thus could have been saved. And if there was any shortage after that, the government could have purchased it from the NTPC at lower rates to save public money,” he added.