Punjab Power Crunch | CM to Share Legal Plan Against SAD-BJP PPAs
Navjot Sidhu, who has on multiple occasions rebelled against Amarinder Singh, demanded a law to nullify the PPAs.
Amid a power shortage in the state of Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday, 3 July, announced that his government will soon disclose a legal strategy to counter the "ill-conceived" power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed during the SAD-BJP rule, news agency PTI reported.
He added that the PPAs have put an "atrociously unnecessary" financial burden on the state.
This comes a day after Singh on Friday, directed Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to ensure eight-hour uninterrupted power supply to farmers.
PSPCL was also directed to purchase deficient power from outside the state to prevent power supply disruption in the ongoing paddy sowing season.
For this purpose, the finance department was directed to release Rs 500 crore to the PSPCL, as the corporation faces a financial crunch due to the pandemic, Hindustan Times reported.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has on multiple occasions rebelled against the chief minister, demanded a law to nullify the PPAs.
After a review meeting, the chief minister said that of the 139 PPAs signed during the SAD-BJP government, 17 were enough to cater to the state's full electricity demand, PTI reported.
He further said in a statement that the remaining 122 PPAs for 1,314 MW of "expensive power were inexplicably signed, putting an unnecessary financial burden" on the state.
Legal Course of Action To Save Punjab: CM Amarinder Singh
Taking a dig at the Badals, Singh said that a carefully charted legal course of action was being formulated to save Punjab from further financial losses due to deals made by the Badals during the SAD-BJP rule.
The three-member All India Congress Committee panel that has been meeting ministers of state and other leaders in order to resolve the infighting in the state unit, had directed Singh to deliver on 18 pending poll promises, including action on PPAs.
Before coming to power in 2017, Congress had promised that the existing PPAs would be renegotiated to ensure low-cost power.
Meanwhile, an unprecedented power shortage has led to urban and rural areas, both facing long hours of load shedding amid scorching heat.
Failure of one unit of Talwandi Sabo power plant, which generated 660 MW of power, was blamed by the PSPCL.
Asking the people to use electricity judiciously and cooperate with the state government, the chief minister said, the demand last week touched an unprecedented 16,000 MW, against the supply of 13,500 MW.
Measures To Address the Power Shortage
The state government took extra measures to address the power shortage such as three weekly days of power off for the industry, including rolling mills and induction furnaces, from 1 to 7 July.
Singh said, only essential services and continuous process industries have been exempted from these regulations, PTI reported.
The chief minister said the power distribution system in Punjab has improved significantly over the past four years and stressed on his government’s commitment to ensure that the situation is quickly eased.
Saying that the situation has improved considerably, a PSPCL spokesperson said that eight hours of power is being supplied to all agriculture consumers and there is no scheduled power cut on domestic, commercial, small and medium supply industrial consumers in the state.
(With inputs from PTI and Hindustan Times)
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