Mamata writes to PM opposing Electricity Bill

Mamata writes to PM to oppose Centre's move to place 'anti-people' Electricity Bill in Parliament

Banerjee alleged the Bill will end up in 'profiteering' by the new service providers through tariff hikes

Narendra Modi with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during their meeting in New Delhi. Credit: PTI File Photo

 Criticising the Centre’s move of place the Electricity (Amendment) Bill,2020 in Parliament, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday urged him to refrain from going ahead with the decision as the Bill in its current format was "anti-people" and against the federal structure of the country.

Mamata in a letter to the Prime Minister dubbed the Bill as “unilateral interferences" alleging that despite electricity being on the Concurrent List of the Constitution, the Centre did not hold any proper consultations with the states.

"In the present case, there has been some tokenism of consultations, but no real exchange of views, which is antithetical to the federal structure of our polity," stated Mamata.

She further stated that in a letter to the Prime Minister last year, she had pointed out that she was against the Bill as it seeks to undermine the States’ role in the power sector in favour of private players.

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"Such a laissez-faire approach would result in concentration of private profit-focused utility players in the lucrative urban industrial segments, while poor and rural customers would be left to be tended by public sector DISCOMs," stated Mamata. She further alleged that through the Bill the state will have to give up its “commanding heights" and state PSUs will become “sick and ailing" and will be forced to serve where no corporate body would be interested.

"Allowing cherry picking to select private entities cannot be the goal of public policies, particularly in a strategic sector like power," stated Mamata.

She further alleged that even though the stated objective of the Bill is to provide “plural choices" to the consumers", it will actually end up in “profiteering" by the new service providers through tariff hikes.

"I am dismayed also by the centrist design to make the entire State electricity grid (right from the local substation) an appendage of the National grid," stated Mamata.