Three days after taking over as the power and irrigation minister in the Captain Amarinder Singh government, Rana Gurjit Singh on Monday said the role of halqa in-charges — who were active in the previous Akali-BJP government — in recommending outof-turn tubewell connections would be probed.
“How can the government surpass farmers who were waiting for tubewell connections for 12 to 15 years and give tubewells to their favoured ones who already have such connections?” questioned the minister while talking to HT.
In the last one year of the Akali-BJP government, thousands of out-of-turn tubewell connections were given to farmers on the recommendations of halqa in-charges. Following the new government’s order, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has stopped giving tubewell connections under the special quota.
The minister said preference would be given to decorated soldiers, war widows and who have earned a special name in the society.
Admitting that Punjab became power surplus during the previous Akali-BJP regime, the minister said: “Electricity should be affordable too and the Congress government will strive for bringing down the tariff as promised in the election manifesto.” He also said the government has not decided over continuing with the present incumbent on the post of chairman-cum-managing director of the PSPCL.
The minister said the consumers were fleeced by the PSPCL and private power generation plants during the previous government’s regime. Also, power tariff in Punjab is one of the highest in the country which needs to be brought down for which we would rework power purchase agreements with generation companies, he said.
The government was also working on a policy to give fiveyear moratorium to the industry from tariff hike, said Rana Gurjit, adding that the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) was working out the power tariff for 2017-18 fiscal which is likely to be announced March 31 or April 1.
Raising concerns over division of river waters between Punjab and Haryana, Rana Gurjit said Haryana has 40% land and was getting 60% water while Punjab has 60% land but it is getting 40% of the total water available.