Amid the rising temperature and long power cuts, the battle lines have been drawn in Punjab. While the opposition SAD and BSP have slammed the ruling Congress government, Navjot Singh Sidhu has come out with a proposal to resolve the situation while blaming the previous SAD government for the crisis.
Taking to Twitter to suggest remedial measures to his government, Sidhu said that there is no need for power cuts and the government can provide free electricity to the people of the state. “Truth of Power Costs, Cuts, Power Purchase Agreements & How to give Free & 24 hour Power to the People of Punjab:- There is No need for Power-Cuts in Punjab or for the Chief Minister to regulate office timings or AC use of the Common People … If we Act in the right direction. Power Purchase Costs – Punjab is buying Power at average cost of Rs 4.54 per unit, National Average is Rs 3.85 per unit & Chandigarh is paying Rs 3.44 per unit. Punjab’s over-dependence on 3 Private Thermal Plants at Rs 5-8 per unit makes Punjab pay more than other states,” said Sidhu in a series of tweets.
He further said that the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that the Badal government signed with 3 Private Thermal Power Plants in Punjab is the root cause behind the current situation. He said that till 2020, Punjab has already paid Rs 5400 Crore due to faulty clauses in these Agreements and is expected to pay Rs 65,000 Crore of Punjab People’s Money just as fixed charges. The Congres MLA said that Punjab can purchase power from National Grid at much cheaper rates, but these Badal-signed PPAs are acting against Punjab’s Public Interest. “Punjab may not be able to re-negotiate these PPAs due to them having legal protection from Hon’ble Courts, But there is a way forward..” he said.
“Punjab Vidhan Sabha can bring in New Legislation with retrospective effect to Cap power purchase costs to prices available on the National Power Exchange at any given time … Thus, By amending the Law, these Agreements will become Null & Void, saving People of Punjab’s Money,” added Sidhu.
He said that Punjab’s revenue per unit of consumption is one of the lowest in India, due to gross mismanagement of the complete power purchase & supply system. “PSPCL pays Rs. 0.18 per unit “Extra” on every unit supplied, even after receiving over 9000 Crore in Subsidy from the State,” claimed Sidhu.
Truth of Power Costs, Cuts, Power Purchase Agreements & How to give Free & 24 hour Power to the People of Punjab:- 1. There is No need for Power-Cuts in Punjab or for the Chief Minister to regulate office timings or AC use of the Common People … If we Act in the right direction
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) July 2, 2021
He also urged the government to explore the solar and biomass potential of the state. “Renewable Energy is becoming cheaper along with being environmental-friendly, But Punjab’s potential from Solar & BioMass Energy remains unutilised even though Central financial schemes can be availed for these projects. PEDA spends its time just on energy efficiency awareness. Punjab already gives 9000 Crore Power Subsidy but Delhi gives only 1699 Crore as Power Subsidy. If Punjab copies Delhi Model, we will get merely 1600-2000 Crore as Subsidy. To better serve the People of Punjab – Punjab needs an Original Punjab Model, Not a copied Model!!” said Sidhu.
He urged the state government to utilise the money given as ‘unreasonable & exuberant profits’ to Private Thermal Plants for the welfare of People including free power for domestic use (Up to 300 Units) and investing in Education & Healthcare.
Amid the long power cuts, the Punjab CM yesterday ordered curtailment in timings of state government offices and cutting down of power supply to high energy-consuming industries. Cm Singh also appealed to all government offices to make judicious use of electricity. Today, many government offices across the state switched off their ACs and used only fans.
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal today hit out at the Congress government. “Punjab has drastically fallen under Amarinder Singh & Congress’ rule. The state is facing power cuts of 10-12 hours. They want to save the bill on the subsidies given on electricity. Farmers are forced to destroy their crops, they’re on streets,” she alleged.
SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal held CM Singh responsible for the power cuts. “Midsummer Madness! @capt_amarinder govt blames farmers for their misery. PSPCL chairman reveals how cuts are govt’s REVENGE against farmers for “water guzzler” paddy. I said y’day that cuts are deliberate to deny free power to farmers. Today, PSPCL confirms it,” he said.
The blame for suffering of farmers & the common man lies squarely with @capt_amarinder.He has as power minister presided over collapse of PSPCL which is now unable to provide adequate power to Pbis even though the SAD led govt had made Pb power surplus.1/2https://t.co/TdTkPNKVZc
— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) July 2, 2021
Shiromani Akali Dal and BSP workers today protested across the state against the long power cuts.