Navjot Singh Sidhu bats for free power and round-the-clock power supply in Punjab

Dissident former Congress minister and the CM are at loggerheads over the State’s ongoing power shortage crisis

Updated - July 04, 2021 09:03 pm IST

Published - July 04, 2021 12:20 pm IST - New Delhi

Navjot Singh Sidhu. File photo

Navjot Singh Sidhu. File photo

Former Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with Chief Minister Captain (Retd.) Amarinder Singh, on Sunday argued in favour of providing free electricity up to 300 units and round-the-clock power supply to consumers in the State.

Mr. Sidhu’s series of tweets come at a time when Punjab is reeling under an acute power shortage, with urban and rural areas facing hours of load shedding in the peak summer months.

He said in a tweet: “Punjab already provides 9000 crore subsidy but we must do more for Domestic & Industrial consumer giving power at Rs 3-5 per unit instead of surcharge inflated Rs 10-12 per unit, along 24-hour supply with No Power-Cuts & Free Power (Up to 300 Units).. It is definitely achievable.”

The dissident Punjab Congress leader’s tweet follows Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s recent promise that 300 units of free electricity would be given to each household and 24-hour power supply would be available if his Aam Admi Party came to power in the State.

The cricketer-turned-politician has been targeting the Amarinder Singh government for not discarding the “faulty” power purchase agreements (PPA) signed when the Shriomani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party combine was ruling the State.

In another tweet, he said: “Let us start with Congress High Command’s Pro-People 18 Point Agenda and get rid of the faulty un-negotiable Badal-signed Power Purchase Agreements through “New Legislation in Punjab Vidhan Sabha” fixing rates as per National Power Exchange with No fixed charges !”

On Saturday, the Punjab Chief Minister had said the PPAs that put an “atrociously unnecessary” financial burden on the State were already under review and his government would soon announce its legal strategy for it.

Of the 139 PPAs signed during by the Akali government, 17 were enough to cater to the State's full power demand and the remaining 122 PPAs for 1,314 MWs of power were “inexplicably” signed, said Capt. Amarinder.

The Chief Minister and Mr. Sidhu have been sparring over a range of issues, including the PPAs and the ongoing power crisis in the State. As the issue of power tariffs became the subject of a political tug of war within the Congress, supporters of Capt. Amarinder hit back by raising the issue of unpaid electricity bills of over ₹8 lakh at Mr. Sidhu’s Amritsar house.

Mr. Sidhu’s wife, Navjot Kaur, later clarified that they would clear the bills once their appeal against inflated charges was disposed off by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited.

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