‘Government is groping in dark as demand for power going up’

YSR Congress honorary president Y.S. Vijayalakshmi has said the State government totally failed in anticipating the crisis in power sector. By imposing an unprecedented burden of Rs. 32,000 crore in the form of a steep hike in tariff and giving retrospective effect to surcharges, the government showed lack of concern for suffering of the common man and the irreparable loss to economy.

Addressing a public meeting during the party’s agitation against power crisis here on Monday, she said former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was also complicit in the state of affairs as it was during his tenure that some naphtha-based power plants were converted into that of gas in a scandalous manner and they eventually turned into white elephants.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could have taken Mr. Naidu to task but it preferred to keep quiet due to political compulsions, she said. There was the Basheerbagh incident in which farmers were shot dead by policemen during the anti-power tariff hike agitation when Mr. Chandrababu Naidu was the Chief Minister. Farmers were sent to jail and some of them were tortured and their wives were also not spared, the YSRC leader said.

Ms. Vijayalakshmi said the State government wasted the opportunity to buy power out of the 1,300 MW available in the Central Grid. It could purchase just about 230 MW while Karnataka captured a much larger share of 800 MW.

“The government is virtually groping in the dark as the demand started rising with the onset of summer. It should have explored alternative sources of energy for meeting the demand instead of trying to escape from its responsibility by citing constraints in obtaining coal and gas supplies and unavailability of water in hydro projects.” People were not oblivious to the failure of the Chandrababu Naidu government in getting justice done vis-à-vis the construction of Babli, Almatti and Narayanpur projects in Karnataka and Maharashtra, Ms. Vijayalakshmi added.

Dig at CBI

YSRC leader Sharmila said former CBI director Joginder Singh himself had said that the investigating agency became a puppet in the hands of the Central government.

The CBI would not even turn its attention to the scandals that surfaced during Mr. Naidu’s tenure while scrupulously pursuing a slew of corruption charges levelled against Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had said that Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy would have become a Minister or even the Chief Minister had he not parted ways with the ruling party. These things were a clear evidence that Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy was deliberately sent to jail to scuttle his political career.

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