The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, March 30
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today said chief minister Bhagwant Mann had betrayed the industrial sector by invoking a hike in industrial power tariff despite promising to supply power to the sector at the rate of Rs five per unit.
In a statement here, the SAD president said the AAP government had made an effective increase of sixty paisa per unit in power being supplied to industries in the State which would further affect their competitiveness. “Already industry from Punjab is shifting to Uttar Pradesh, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir. Today’s hike will fast track this migration and severely affect the State’s economy besides resulting in large scale unemployment”.
The SAD President said the industry was being penalized for the mismanagement of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) by the AAP government. “A Corporation which was ranked number one in the country during the tenure of S Parkash Singh Badal has been bankrupted. PSPCL is not being paid due subsidy to the tune of Rs 9,020 crore along with pending electricity dues from government departments of Rs 2,548 crore. The Corporation’s financial future is bleak as the AAP government has deliberately underestimated the subsidy amount by Rs 7,000 crore as per its own Engineer’s Association. In such a situation the Corporation is being forced to take up loans from banks and financial institutions at high interest rates dooming it further”.
Asserting that the situation was likely to worsen in the coming days, Sukhbir Badal said the summer season had not started but the State power utility had started imposing power cuts of as much as eight hours per day even in cities. He said with the power utility bereft of funds, it would find it difficult to match the power demand during the summer which could jeopardize paddy transplantation in the State.
Asking the chief minister to release due funds to PSPCL by putting a cut on the Rs 750 crore advertising budget besides controlling corruption in the excise policy, Badal said “PSPCL needs funds urgently as it is unable even to spare money for routine repairs of transformers and grids. This is bound to cause suffering to farmers and the entire agricultural economy”. He also demanded the hike in industrial tariff be rolled back immediately while making a case for extending more facilities to the industrial sector to create job opportunities for youth.