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Amarinder challenges Kejriwal on free power to farmers

Taking his Delhi counterpart head-on for failing to provide free power to farmers in the national capital, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday slammed Arvind Kejriwal for making false promises on free power in Punjab with an eye on the 2022 Assembly polls.

Updated Jul 05, 2021 12:57 PM

Amarinder challenges Kejriwal on free power to farmers

The Kejriwal government has completely failed the people of Delhi on all counts, with no free power to the farmers and excessively high tariffs for the industry, Singh said, adding that the people of Punjab have already rejected the "pathetic Delhi model of governance".

The Punjab Chief Minister said the Delhi power tariff structure was a case of "organised loot" by the Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, which was openly allowing private power distribution companies in Delhi to "fill their pockets by collecting excessively high tariffs at the cost of the common man".

Delhi is charging Rs 9.80 per unit for industrial power, even as the Congress government in Punjab is levying a subsidised rate of Rs 5 per unit to attract industry to Punjab. As a result, the state has seen more than Rs 85,000 crore worth of investment on the ground in the past four years.

Subsidised power is at present being distributed to 143,812 industrial units in Punjab with an annual subsidy of Rs 2,226 crore, the Chief Minister pointed out.

In sharp contrast to Punjab, where his government was giving free power worth Rs 6,735 crore to more than 13.79 lakh farmers, the AAP government in Delhi had made no effort whatsoever to extend similar support to the agricultural community, Singh said.

Pointing out that the Kejriwal government was among the first to notify one of the anti-farmer farm laws of the Centre in Delhi, the Chief Minister slammed AAP for professing sympathy for the farmers of Punjab.

Singh also questioned the "anti-people power tariff structure of Delhi", alleging that the Delhi government was "fooling the people" by putting a small amount into one pocket, by way of 200 units of free domestic power, and taking away a higher amount from the other pocket by way of the high tariffs being paid by shopkeepers, industry and farmers for commercial and agriculture power.

The Delhi government is charging Rs 11.34 per unit from small shopkeepers and other commercial establishments, which is 50 per cent higher than what is being charged in Punjab, Singh pointed out.

Comparing the subsidies of the two states, the Chief Minister said the Punjab government is paying an annual power subsidy bill of Rs 10,458 crore, whereas the Kejriwal government is paying Rs 2,820 crore, when the population of Delhi is two crore compared with Punjab's three crore. This translates into an average power subsidy in Punjab of Rs 3,486 per person, against Rs 1,410 for a Delhi resident.

The Punjab government's power subsidy, Singh said, works out to 2.24 per cent of the state's total revenue receipts, compared with 1.03 per cent in the case of Delhi.

The situation, the Chief Minister said , was even more damning when seen in the context of the revenue generated through the sale of power to consumers.

During 2020-21, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) sold 46,713 MW of power, whereas the distribution companies in Delhi sold 27,436 MW. The total revenue earned through the sale of power was Rs 29,903 crore in Punjab, compared with Rs 20,556 crore in Delhi.

As a result the average cost per unit of power in Punjab comes to Rs 6.40, whereas it is Rs 7.49 in Delhi, Singh pointed out.

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