The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Punjab, has, in a letter to the chief minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh, demanded scrap of the power purchase agreements (PPOs) inked between the erstwhile Badal government and private power players, to relieve the harried consumers from paying hefty electricity bills in the state.
It sought to remind the government about the poll promise it had made to the people before coming to power in 2017, that it would evaluate and audit PowerCom accounts and scrap anti-state private power purchase agreements (PPOs) to provide cheaper power to the people.
In the letter, the AAP pointed out that the government currently in the saddle had also promised to the people in its party manifesto that accounts of the PowerCom pertaining to the past five years would be audited immediately after assuming power, but remained a paper promise as nothing came out of the narrative, it said. On the contrary, the rates had been hiked more than a dozen times, as a result of which consumers in the state were bearing the brunt of expensive electricity, compared to other states, saying that government was mulling yet another hike, soon, which was set to cause another set back the harried consumers.
The letter further added that the root cause of costly power in the state was the one-sided agreements inked between the private thermal plants and the previous Badal government, alleging the Badals were pocketing a lion’s share of the ‘booty’. It said that Captain Aamrinder Singh was also falling in his predecessors’ footsteps.
The AAP leaders, in the letter, said that the people of the state were paying through their noses for the expensive power due to the anti-people and anti-state policies of the successive governments, leading to recurring hike in the power charges, which were perhaps the highest compared to other sates of the country.
The letter further said that, on the other hand, consumers in Punjab were paying high rate of electricity, on the other Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was providing the cheapest electricity to the people in Delhi, even though it purchased power from private power companies, stating as many as 22 lakh families in Delhi were getting worth zero power bills.
The AAP leaders further apprised the chief minister that the Punjab Government in the saddle had been extending support to the powerful power mafia in the state, saying Sukhbir Singh Badal had entered into agreements with power companies for obvious reasons, by forcing closure of three public thermal plants at Rajpura, Goindwal Sahib and Talwandi Sabo, generating sufficient power. It said that that the state had been paying a whopping amount of Rs 2800 crore annually to the private players if even they produced no electricity, adding that in the next 25 years, it would cross Rs. 70, 000 crore figure. The letter said that the former power minister Rana Gurjit Singh and power affairs expert engineer Paramjit Singh had marked their stamp over the factual details inside and outside the assembly.
The letter described it preposterous on the part of Sukhbir Singh Badal challenging Captain Amarinder Singh to cancel the agreements, Saying he (Sukhbir Badal) had gone to the extent of holding the UPA government, especially the then Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, holding him responsible for the mess, besides leveling serious charges of open ‘loot’ of the consumers in the state by the state government currently in power, exerting additional burden on the electricity consumers in the state.
The letter further added that such allegations as leveled by Sukhbir Badal was nor a surprise for the AAP, as it knew their being hand in glove with each other when it came to protecting each other from being trapped. It said that Captain Amarinder Singh had joined the power mafia in the state.
The letter urged the government to revive all the government thermal plants, including the one at Bhatinda, to generate sufficient power and provide it to the consumer at cheaper rate, by scrapping all PPOs. It said the electricity bills should be raised every month instead of raising them after every 2 months audit of PowerCom accounts, saying the Punjab Government must take a cue from the the Kejriwal government's model which didn’t allow hike in the electricity rate for five years.