Terming the proposed new Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 by the Centre as ‘draconian law’ and aimed at taking away the powers of the states, Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao launched a scathing attack on the NDA government. He said prime minister Narendra Modi was working towards complete centralisation of power instead of decentralisation. Earlier the UPA government also centralised the powers in some sectors, he said.
“The amended Electricity Act of 2003 was against the federal spirit of the states and intended to curtail the powers of the states. Chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Kerala, Chattisgarh and Delhi have spoken with me. Our TRS MPs would take up the issue in the parliament sessions,” Chandrasekhar Rao said.
“We have seen what happened to BSNL, LIC and other public-sector undertakings. The governments at the Centre are working to hand over every sector to private people,’ he said.
If the Bill is passed, the distribution system goes into the hands of the private persons and Telangana distribution companies, Transco and Genco’s existence would become a big question and thousands of people, working in the power utilities, may have to lose their jobs.
“Some people pressured me to give distribution to the private people and I rejected the proposal saying our government will not give one MW of power distribution to the private agencies,’ KCR said.
Explaining how the new Bill would impact the state government interests, the chief minister said, the state government had to fix metres to about 26 lakh agriculture motors, which itself costs about Rs 700 to Rs 750 crore and all the farmers, who have been getting 24×7 free power will have to pay the bills every month. For taking meter readings itself, the government has to engage 3,000 people. Many sectors get affected with this new Bill as the government is giving cross subsidy to industries and even some domestic consumers like SC/STs,” he said.
Calling the Bill most dangerous, the CM said, the renewable energy was a big conspiracy mainly to help some firms in northern India. “The Centre would not consider hydel power generation by the Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam project. If the state government failed to comply with the norms and ensure renewable energy limits, the Centre may impose a penalty of 0.50 paise to Rs 2 per unit penalty. This will compel the state to reduce power generation in state owned thermal power plants. What kind of rules are they?,” Chandrasekhar Rao said.
Apart from this, the state load dispatch centre would be shifted to Delhi and electricity regulatory commission chairman appointment would be done by the Centre.
The CM said the previous government had failed the country in utilizing the available water resources and energy. “In our country 70,000 tmcft of water is available and still some cities like Chennai are facing acute drinking water problems. Similarly, while the country has four lakh MW of power installed capacity, our generation is 2.13 lakh MW. Many power plants in Odisha and Chattisgarh have closed down. Why the Centre is not reviving them by spending about Rs One lakh crore and supply power to states that are facing problems like Bihar and UP,” he said.