Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 17
All power consumers in Punjab — industrial, domestic and commercial — will get power at Rs 5 per unit. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has made it clear that no category of consumers will have to pay more than Rs 5 per unit as tariff.
The decision comes despite the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) seeking a hike in tariff and the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission recommending the same.
The government does not have resources to subsidise the state’s power utilities. Nor can it burden the utilities by lowering the power rates. Hence, to fulfil its election promise of providing cheaper power, it is likely to resort to purchasing more power from private players.
Talking to The Tribune, the CM said that by providing cheap power at Rs 5 per unit, Punjab would become the second cheapest power provider in the country after Himachal Pradesh. “The Mahindras are willing to provide power at Rs 1.50 per unit and Reliance Power at Rs 1.75 per unit. We will revisit all power purchase agreements and buy power at the cheapest rate possible. Isn’t it strange that the PSPCL sells surplus power at the power grid at Rs 3.40 per unit, but supplies power to the industry at Rs 8.60 per unit,” he remarked.
As of now, the power tariff across various sections of consumers varies between Rs 5.53 per unit to Rs 8.60.
Capt Amarinder, who completes one month in office tomorrow, said he had been trying to resurrect the state’s economy. “We have to cut down on government expenditure drastically. The Expenditure and Governance Reforms Commission will suggest how to go about it. Meanwhile, we have already embarked on our journey to boost revenue receipts. For this, I have met industry captains who have assured us of investing in Punjab. “In May first week, you will see the Sonalika Group opening its plant with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore. HMEL, which runs the Bathinda refinery, too is investing another Rs 22,000 crore while Swaraj Tractors has sought land to start another manufacturing unit, which could be near Bathinda. This will help create jobs and give us more revenue by way of taxes.”
He said the government was looking at increasing revenue through plugging loopholes in tax collections, adding that the Goods and Services Tax that would be rolled out this year would also lend buoyancy to the collections.
Amarinder Singh, reiterating his commitment to meet other promises made in the party manifesto, said smartphones to jobless youth would be provided by a leading telecom operator and five lakh youth given employment in the next five years via Uber and Ola taxi services.
“ICICI will provide finance to buy these cars while the Mahindra group has promised us electric cars. Mini bus permits will be given to unemployed youth and they will be enrolled in a scheme under which 25,000 tractors will be given for custom farming,” he said, adding that none of the poll promises would burden the exchequer.
Roadmap for punjab
- Govt to slash expenditure drastically; plug loopholes in tax collections
- Goods and Services Tax to lend buoyancy to revenue collections
- Leading telecom operator to provide smartphones to jobless youth
- 5 lakh youth to get jobs in next five years via Uber and Ola taxi services
- ICICI to provide finance for these cars; Mahindra group to give electric cars
- Mini bus permits for unemployed youth; 25,000 to get tractors for custom farming
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