(Says entire PPA drafted by Dr Manmohan Singh govt. We only implemented it word to word)
(Says money has changed hands to give benefit of Rs 1400 crore to private thermal plants and mining company. Demands independent probe into scam)
(Says repeated power tariff hikes have resulted in around Rs 24,000 crore additional burden on Punjabis in three years)
Chandigarh, January 8 – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today challenged chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to cancel the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) arrived with private thermal plants with immediate effect if there was anything wrong in the agreements which were drafted by Dr Manmohan Singh’s government even as he asserted that money had changed hands and private players had been benefitted by the Congress government which practiced deliberate laxity in pursuing disputes involving Rs 2,500 crore on account of coal washing charges and a Rs 1,602 crore Tribunal award.
Addressing a press conference here, the SAD President said “Punjab and the interests of Punjabis are paramount to the SAD. In case there is anything wrong in the PPAs they should be cancelled. In fact it is strange why this was not done since three years. The entire PPA and how it was drafted under the leadership of Dr Manmohan Singh should be probed”.
Badal said simultaneously the SAD demanded an independent probe into the undue benefit of Rs 1400 crore given to private thermal plant managements and an additional benefit of Rs 1100 crore expected to be given imminently on account of coal washing charges which had been falsely claimed by them. He said the Congress government did not pursue the case against release of coal washing charges to private plants appropriately in the Supreme Court. “This is a case of match fixing. It is because of this underhand deal with the private plants that the State will have to pay Rs 2,500 crore to them despite the fact that during the previous SAD-BJP government the case was properly pursued and the contention of the private plants was rejected both by the PSERC and APTEL”.
Badal said in the second case the Congress government’s petition for review of the Rs 1,602 crore dispute was rejected by the High Court because it did not challenge the award of the Tribunal dismissing its application for two and a half years. “This inexplicable delay has given an undue benefit to Eastern Minerals and Trading Agency (EMTA) also seems to be a result of match fixing. Both scams should be probed by an independent agency and the latest power tariff increase should be taken back pending inquiry”, the SAD President added.
Giving details, the SAD President said if the common man and the industry were suffering in Punjab today due to repeated power tariff hikes it was due to the corrupt practices of the Congress government as well as its inefficiencies. “Repeated power tariff hikes have resulted in an Rs 8,000 crore increase per annum putting an additional burden of over Rs 20,000 crore on the people. This has affected the monthly budget of every family in the State”.
Explaining the power scenario in Punjab when the SAD-BJP government took over the reins of the State and decided to approve establishment of private power plants as per the guidelines of the Dr Manmohan Singh government, Mr Badal said due to zero investment in the power sector by the previous Congress government there was a huge power deficit. He said domestic consumers were facing power cuts of six to eight hours daily and industrial supply was shut down for three to four days a week. “Even paddy crop received supply for only four to five hours daily”. He said keeping in view the fact that ‘bijli, paani and sadak’ were basic necessities and the huge cost of Rs 22,000 crore needed to create generation facilities it was decided to go in for private power generation. “Free, fair and transparent bids were invited on Standard Bidding Documents as well as PPA prepared by the Dr Manmohan Singh government. Anyone accusing us of signing wrong PPAs with private companies is in fact accusing Dr Manmohan Singh of preparing a faulty PPA as we followed central directives word to word”.
The SAD President said it was a matter of pride that Punjab projects were cheapest among the six projects allocated in the country in 2009 and more efficient as compared to government projects. He said it was because of the successful commissioning of both projects that Punjab received A+ rating as best utility in 2015 and Best Distribution Utility award for 2015 and 2016 by the Ministry of Power.
The SAD President said despite this clear track record, the Congress and AAP were trying to mislead the people to hide their failures. Terming the Congress government as the most incompetent, insensitive and inefficient government ever,Mr Badal said Pradesh Congress President Sunil Jakhar not to play politics and ask his government why the PPAs were not being cancelled. “Jakhar should realize he is not leader of the opposition. If PPA’s not in interest of the State why haven’t they been cancelled since three years? If Jagan Reddy can cancel the State capital Amravati what is a PPA? The Congress government cannot pass on the buck to us. I was reading Sachin Pilot’s tweet in this context in which he has clearly written that being in power for 13 months it does not serve any purpose to point fingers at the previous government. “In Punjab the Congress has been in power for three years. It does not serve any purpose to keep pointing fingers at the SAD-BJP government”, Badal added.