Government invites bids to privatise power distribution network in Puducherry

A notice on behalf of the Power Secretary was issued on September 27 to sell shares worth ₹27 crore to obtain power distribution license in Puducherry

September 28, 2022 03:17 pm | Updated 03:36 pm IST - PUDUCHERRY

Electricity Department employees relaunch their agitation following the government’s decision to invite bids for privatising power distribution network, in Puducherry, on September 28, 2022

Electricity Department employees relaunch their agitation following the government’s decision to invite bids for privatising power distribution network, in Puducherry, on September 28, 2022 | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

In a first clear indication of the government’s intent to privatise the entire power distribution system in the Union Territory, the Electricity Department has called for bids to sell 100% of its share to a private entity to take over distribution and retail supply of electricity in Puducherry.

A notice on behalf of the Power Secretary, Government of Puducherry, was issued on September 27 to sell shares worth ₹27 crore to obtain power distribution license in the Union Territory. Interested bidders need to deposit ₹5. 90 lakh, inclusive of 18% GST, to get the documents for submitting the Request for Proposal.

“It was discussed in the Cabinet meeting in November last year and in May this year, the Cabinet approved it and sent the file to Union Ministry of Home Affairs. It was referred to Ministry of Power and as per the directions we have invited the bids. The last date for submission of the bids is on November 25,” a senior official told The Hindu.

The invitation of the bids is the first concrete step in the wake of the concurrence given by the territorial administration to the Centre’s proposal to privatise power distribution network in the U.T.

Since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government came to power in Puducherry, Chief Minister N. Rangasamy has maintained a stoic silence on the issue even when the subject was brought to his knowledge during interactions with the media. A few months ago, when employees of the department launched an indefinite strike against the privatisation move, the Chief Minister had assured the employees that he would consult them before giving any consent to hand over the distribution network to a private player.

When the proposal for the privatisation first came up during the tenure of the previous Congress regime, the Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution urging the Centre to drop its proposal. The then Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy had also taken a delegation to Delhi to meet the Union Minister for Power.

Also read: Former Puducherry MP wants Assembly to pass resolution against electricity privatisation

The Congress, the DMK, the AIADMK, the Left parties and various organisations have come out in the open against privatisation as they feel the huge assets built over the years would go into the hands of a private player. The political parties had also expressed apprehensions about the impact of privatisation on common man.

After the news broke out on the calling of bids on September 28, the employees of Electricity Department, under the banner of Committee Against Privatisation of Electricity Department, re-launched their indefinite strike. The employees have threatened not to attend any maintenance work till the proposal was dropped.

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