Political bouts around power cuts is hotting up with the CPI on Friday accusing the Congress government in the Capital of merely threatening action against private power distributing companies and not doing enough for lakhs of Delhi'ites forced to suffer prolonged power cuts.
The Left party demanded that the Delhi Government scrap the contracts it entered with two Reliance discoms - BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) – and restore Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) in its old avatar.
"The much proclaimed purpose of privatisation, that is to reduce the financial losses being then made by Delhi Vidyut Board and reduce tariffs due to improved efficiency and competition, have proved to be a complete failure," CPI general Secretary AB Bardhan said in a statement on Friday.
Bardhan, also the president of the All-India Federation of Electricity Employees, said the companies have demanded "another dose of subsidy from Delhi government failing which they will further increase power tariff," which would worsen the consumers' condition.
The veteran Communist leader added that a subsidy of Rs 3,450 crore was paid to Reliance when the two sectors of DVB were handed over to them in the course of privatisation.
"This subsidy was for five years starting 2002-03, but the companies managed to eat up the amount within three years. Thereafter, they again managed to arm-twist the state government into giving them an additional subsidy of Rs 90 crore per year," Bardhan said in the strongly worded statement.
Bardhan added that CM Shiela Dikshit has been giving only warnings to the discoms, adding that "such threats will not count. People feel that enough is enough."
"The government must take the last step, call the bluff and blackmail by Reliance, annul the privatisation agreement and restore the DVB while reforming its functioning," the CPI leader said.
The communist leader said ever since DVB was privatised, there have been annual tariff hikes and their cumulative effect between 2002-03 and 2005-06 has been 76 and 33 per cent, depending on the consumption.