Opposition slams Punjab govt over power outages; minister says 40 pc rise in demand : The Tribune India

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Opposition slams Punjab govt over power outages; minister says 40 pc rise in demand

Shortage of 282 lakh units in the state on Wednesday, electricity supply availability from all sources 1,679 lakh units, say sources

Opposition slams Punjab govt over power outages; minister says 40 pc rise in demand

Punjab power minister Harbhajan Singh


Chandigarh, April 28

Opposition parties in Punjab on Thursday hit out at the AAP government over “massive” power outages at many places during the scorching heat, accusing it of having failed to ensure promised round-the-clock electricity to consumers.

However, Punjab power minister Harbhajan Singh said that driven by the rising temperature, the demand for electricity shot up by 40 per cent compared to the corresponding period of last year.

Not only Punjab, other states too are facing similar problems, he said, adding Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was monitoring the situation.

The opposition parties said load shedding was adversely affecting farming and industrial sectors, besides causing inconvenience to the domestic consumers.

Farmers’ body Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee on Thursday announced a protest in Amritsar on Friday in front of the house of the power minister accusing him of not ensuring adequate electricity supply to the farming sector.

The opposition parties claimed that the state power utility was resorting to 10 to 13-hour power cuts, particularly in the rural areas.

According to official sources, the maximum demand for power has reached 7,675 MW in the state.

On Wednesday, there was a shortage of 282 lakh units in the state with electricity supply availability from all sources remaining at 1,679 lakh units, they said.

Already two units of Talwandi Sabo, one unit each of the Ropar thermal plant and GVK plant remained shut, affecting power generation, the sources said.

Coal supply continued to remain worrisome with the Ropar thermal plant having coal for 8.3 days, Lehra Mohabbat plant for four days and GVK for 2.4 days, said sources.

Power Minister Harbhajan Singh said one unit of the Ropar thermal plant on Thursday started generating power and one unit of Talwandi Sabo will start power generation on Friday.

He blamed the previous governments for not upgrading power plants in Punjab. He also accused the previous Congress dispensation of not doing anything to prepare for this season.

Taking a jibe at Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said, “By now Mann Sahab, you must have realised that governance is a real challenge and not a laughter challenge.”

Warring posted on his social media platforms an old video clip of Mann where he is seen describing the electricity shortage in Punjab in his characteristic satirical style.

“Now that you are at the helm of affairs and are already aware of the problem, what stops you from sorting this out,” he posed.

The Congress leader alleged the government has not taken any initiative to overcome the shortage and supply uninterrupted power to the agriculture sector during the paddy season.

Hitting out at the Bhagwant Mann government over the “power crisis”, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Balwinder Singh Bhundar said, “The Delhi model has electrocuted Punjab. Punjabis, who had been promised round-the-clock power supply, facing 18-hour power cuts at the onset of the summer season.”

“If this is the change the AAP promised, then it will only lead to the destruction of the state’s agriculture and industrial economy and cause untold hardship to the common people,” he said.

Bhundar claimed the “breakdown” has also proved that the AAP did not have any vision document to make the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) self-sufficient.

It befooled Punjabis with the promise of around-the-clock power supply, he alleged.

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu also took a swipe at Mann for power outages. “AAP got a chance, now no electricity during the day or at night,” he tweeted in Hindi.

“Massive power cuts in Punjab… Less than two hours of electricity for farmers… Recent circular by PSPCL to its employees… It’s not as bad as it looks, it’s worse,” he said on the micro-blogging site.

Punjab BJP general secretary Jiwan Gupta said the tall claims of AAP of providing 24-hour electricity supply have been exposed with the long power cuts in the state.

“There are 12-hour-long power cuts in villages in Punjab. Villagers are feeling harassed. Crops are getting damaged as they are not able to get water for irrigation due to inadequate power,” Gupta said.

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