Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa on Tuesday said that with the work on Talwandi Sabo thermal power plant coming to a halt due to 'non-cooperative' attitude of SAD-BJP government, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal stood exposed, who was boasting of making Punjab power surplus.
Addressing the media here, Bajwa said that the allegations leveled by Sterling Limited -promoter company of thermal plant - against the SAD-BJP government were serious and would dissuade investors from coming to Punjab. He said Sterling claimed that they were forced to stop work due to 'non-conducive atmosphere and bureaucratic wrangling'.
He said the project has come come to a standstill at a time when the executing company had already spent Rs 7,000 crore out of total estimated cost of Rs 10,000 crore. He said that it was indicative of total collapse of the SAD-BJP government.
Describing the junior Badal as a 'barefaced liar', Bajwa said it was rather shocking that the deputy CM repeated his lies of making Punjab power surplus at the holy place of Talwandi Sabo on Baisakhi. He was supposed to inaugurate the first unit of thermal plant on April 13.
He pointed out that chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) manifesto in 2007 had promised to turn Punjab into a power surplus state by 2010. The junior Badal had even boasted of exporting power to Pakistan, he said.
Bajwa said that the promoters of thermal plant were involved in legal complications with Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) and state government had failed to bring the two companies to the negotiation table. “How can Sukhbir Badal claim that first unit of Talwandi Sabo thermal project will be commissioned by June 2013, when no agreement has been signed for supply of coal,” Bajwa questioned.
Bajwa said that this is stark reality that power projects were running behind schedule and about 80% hike in power rates in the past six years has forced people to shell out major part of their earnings on power bills. “The high power tariff has proved a death knell for the small scale industry,” he said.
He said that the knitwear industry of Ludhiana has decided to shift base to Himachal Pradesh due to 'unbearable' power tariff. He said that the textile industry from Punjab has already shifted to Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. “80% of steel industry from Mandi Gobindgarh has also shifted to Gujarat,” he claimed.
The PPCC chief questioned Sukhbir Badal on his promise of 24-hour power supply in Punjab. He said that SAD-BJP government was supplying only four-hour power on alternative days to agriculture sector, while the industry is compelled to observe forced holidays.
He said that even before onset of summer, unannounced power cuts are being imposed in cities. He said that during the last Congress government, 8 to 10 hour regular power supply was ensured for agriculture sector and normal power supply of 24 hour was given to industry and domestic sectors.
“Due to their ulterior motives, Badals are harassing big investers and thus ruining Punjab,” he alleged.
Bajwa attended an AICC-sponsored workshop for party leaders of the Majha belt. The workshop was basically organised to discuss ways and means to strengthen the organisational structure.
Besides Bajwa, all AICC and PPCC members of Majha, besides the office-bearers of the district units of the region and the block presidents, attended the workshop held at a resort. The seven hours' workshop was the first such exercise for getting a feedback on the organisational network of the party.
AICC secretary for Punjab and MP, Harish Chaudhary, attended the workshop to get the feedback, which he will pass onto the party high command. A similar workshop will be organised for the Doaba region, followed by two such exercises in the Malwa belt.