Amarinder wants Modi to let his govt sell surplus Punjab power to Pakistan

Amarinder wants Modi to let his govt sell surplus Punjab power to Pakistan
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to sell surplus power produced his state to Pakistan or Nepal to tide over a serious cash-crunch faced by his government.

He told the PM that Punjab had a surplus availability of 1,000 MW surplus after meeting its internal demand. Three thermal plants set up in the private sector in the state have resulted in an addition of 3,950 MW in power generation against the requirement of 1,400-1,500 MW.

The sale of  surplus power to neighbouring Pakistan where shortfall of 7,000 MW has seen severe crisis, or Nepal as the case may be, would save the citizens of the state from the burden of any extra taxes, he said.

Seeking the PM's intervention for clearance by the Union power ministry in this regard, Captain Amarinder said this would also save the electricity consumers from bearing extra burden of the fixed cost of power generating units.

Captain Amarinder, who called on Modi, said since Punjab shares its border with Pakistan and its Goindwal Sahib thermal power plant is situated close to the international border, it would not be difficult state to supply power to Pakistan on continuous basis.

Of course, it would take at least one year to set up high voltage direct current back-to-back module at the 400 KV grid, near Amritsar, to synchronise the supply systems of the two countries.

Punjab would be ready to supply electricity also to Nepal, which intends to meet its power shortfall by purchasing it from India if the Centre gave the green signal, Captain Amarinder. 

Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd. (PSPCL) has, in the recent past, offered to supply power  by responding to tender enquiries floated for the purpose. But it had not been successful in its efforts.

 This is the first time the state government has made such a request to the Centre to mob up funds by selling power to Pakistan to overcome the financial crisis.

During the last 10 years, the total debt of the state has increased from Rs 48,344 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 1,82,537 crore at the end of 2016-17.

Captain Amarinder also batted for compensation for farmers owning land beyond the International Border with Pakistan because they face significant restrictions on the types of crops to be cultivated due to security reasons. "This leads to significantly sub-optimal yields, necessitating higher compensation for the farmers than the current Rs. 10,000 per acre per annum," he told the PM, Punjab officials said. 

The Centre must bear the entire burden of the compensation instead of requiring the state government to share 50% of it. He urged the Prime Minister to advise the Union Home Ministry to take immediate steps in this regard.

Referring to the plight of the state’s farmers, who were suffering from declining real farm incomes due to agricultural stagnation, Captain Amarinder stressed the need for diversification of farming away for paddy.

The CM also told the PM that the state  suffers a massive handicap in promoting the industry due to the 554 km long international borders with Pakistan and the sub-mountainous region in the Aravali foothills.

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