Terming fullpage advertisements by Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on state’s power tariffs “half-truth”, Congress vice-president and chief spokesperson Sunil Jakhar said the Congress would scrutinise the setting up of private power plants at Rajpura, Talwandi Sabo and Goindwal by the Parkash Singh Badal government after coming to power.
Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Jakhar gave comparative tariffs for domestic and commercial consumers in neighbouring Haryana and Chandigarh to prove that figures “belie” Sukhbir’s claims.
“Just to take credit for making Punjab power surplus, Sukhbir allowed private players to set up thermal plants to the detriment of interests of state’s consumers. In his written reply to an un-starred question on June 29, 2012, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said the levellised tariff for Talwandi Sabo plant will be Rs 2.36 per unit and that for Rajpura will be Rs 2.89 per unit. But the power corporation has paid them Rs 5.08 per unit and Rs 4.18 per unit, respectively. It amounts to an excess payment of Rs 930 crore to the Rajpura plant and Rs 880 crore to the Talwandi Sabo plant, totalling to Rs 1810 crore,” he claimed.
The Congress leader said while private players were making profit, the production at state-run plants had been brought down from 17,000 million units to 7,200 MU. To counter government claims of distribution losses being brought down to 12.71%, Jakhar cited distribution losses in segments of ministers of ruling family to make his point. He said distribution losses are 38.2% in Malout and 32.2% in the Badal subdivision, the CM’s home district of Muktsar, 29% in Sukhbir’s constituency Jalalabad and 35% in minister Adaish Pratap Kairon’s segment, Patti.
“The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) in its tariff order has said that tariff for the industry was highest in Punjab which was one of the reasons it was either shifting to other states or closing down. Why did the government act during the fag end of its tenure? And why has the government not given any relief to 61 lakh domestic and 10 lakh commercial consumers who are paying for fancy ideas of Sukhbir or corruption in setting up the private plants,” he said, adding that he would “bust” the claims of government on power sector in three-part series, of which this was first.