Opposition Aam Aadmi Party mounts attack on Punjab govt over power tariff hike

The delegation submitted a call attention motion to the speaker, seeking the termination of the PPAs

Power tariffs in Punjab were increased by 36 paise a unit from January 1 for domestic consumers on account of coal-washing charges. (ANI Photo)

The opposition parties here on Wednesday upped the ante against the Punjab government over the hike in electricity tariffs with the AAP demanding the "scrapping" of power purchase agreements while the SAD sought a CBI probe into it.

Power tariffs in Punjab were increased by 36 paise a unit from January 1 for domestic consumers on account of coal-washing charges.

A delegation of the Aam Aadmi Party led by Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema met Speaker Rana KP Singh, urging him to allow them move a private member's bill against the hike during the two-day assembly session starting January 16.

They claimed that the power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed by the previous SAD-BJP government led to the hike in tariffs.

Sunam MLA Aman Arora accused the Congress-led regime of having failed to "scrap" the PPAs with private power plants despite promising it before 2017 assembly polls.

"Until anti-people agreements are not tweaked, people would continue to face high power tariffs," he said.

"Due to these agreements, the state would have to cough up a whopping Rs 70,000 crore even if private thermal plants do not produce a single unit of power," claimed Arora.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal met Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore, urging him to direct the Congress-led state government to recommend a CBI probe into the alleged Rs 4,100 crore "scam".

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged that the state suffered a loss of Rs 4,100 crore due to "willful connivance and large-scale corruption" by Congress leaders, ministers, higher officials and private power companies.

Sukhbir alleged that the state had "deliberately lost" important cases in the court after "hefty amounts were taken by certain persons from private companies".

He said this was achieved by concealing important information from the courts and misrepresenting facts to benefit private players.

Earlier, the SAD had accused the state government of not pursuing the case against the release of coal-washing charges to private plants appropriately in the Supreme Court and had asserted that it was during their regime that Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Corporation and the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity had ruled in the favour of state-owned power utility.

Through coal washing, impurities like ash, soil and rock are removed from coal. 

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