Under fire over electricity tariff hike, the ruling party Congress in Punjab today put the blame on the previous 10-year rule of SAD-BJP coalition for putting the power sector into "mess".
The party said the state government has ordered third- party audit into the power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed during the previous regime to "unmask" the "scam" in it.
It also claimed that the PPAs signed by the power utility PSPCL with the private companies during SAD-BJP regime for the purchase of energy at a "higher" rate was one of the prime reasons behind the current power tariff hike.
Power regulator PSERC had announced an average hike of 9.33 per cent in power tariff across all the sectors on October 23.
After the announcement of power tariff increase, opposition parties SAD-BJP and AAP strongly condemned the hike and blamed the Congress-led regime for putting additional burden on consumers.
"Maybe former deputy C M Sukhbir Badal had made Punjab power surplus but at the same time, he has made the state treasury bankrupt...," Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Sunil Jakhar said while addressing the media here.
"Some new facts have come to light that how public was looted. There was some nexus and understanding with private power producers," he alleged.
Jakhar, Gurdaspur MP, claimed that previous Akali government had signed PPA for the purchase of power from private power producers at a very high rate.
Citing data procured from power tariff order, Jakhar said the previous government had signed for power purchase from Talwandi Sabo power project, Goindwal power project and Rajpura power project at a rate of Rs 5.40 per unit, Rs 8.70 per unit and Rs 3.80 per unit, respectively.
As against this, Punjab is getting power at a rate of Rs 2.20 and Rs 1.32 per unit from Sasan and Mundra, he said.
Jahar said Punjab was paying fixed charges of Rs 1.35 per unit to Talwandi Sabo, Rs 1.50 per unit to Rajpura and Rs 1.93 per unit to Goindwal Sahib thermal plants, whereas fixed charges for Mundra thermal plant were 90 paise per unit and for Sasan thermal plant was 17 paise per unit only.
"There is a big scam in it," claimed Jakhar, adding that "entire power sector is in a mess right now due to Akali BJP regime."
Jakhar said Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was also upset with the power tariff hike.
"A third party audit has been ordered by the Punjab government to look in to these PPAs," Jakhar said.
PPCC chief said this power hike has been "forced" on the people of Punjab by the Badals, who signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the BJP-led central government and the PSPCL for hiking power tariff in the state every year.
He alleged that "the real culprit is Sukhbir Badal, who signed the MoU under the UDAY scheme on March 4, 2016, in the presence of his alliance partner and union power minister, and agreed to hike power tariffs in Punjab on a yearly basis in order to implement the Ujwal Discom Assurance Scheme of the GoI".
As per the UDAY MoU, the Badals had agreed to a five per cent hike in power tariff for 2016-17 and nine per cent for 2017-18.
He said the Akali-BJP government, even Bikram Singh Majithia as its Minister for Renewable Energy and PEDA, and Sukhbir Singh Badal as the Power minister, signed PPAs at exorbitant costs with Solar and Bio-mass power plants also.
He also said that failure of the Badal government to operationalise Pachhwara Captive Coal Mine, which was allotted in Jharkahand, also led to higher power costs in Punjab.
He alleged that Badals had purposely not operationalised the mine in order to oblige a private company as it used to import coal at exorbitant prices, causing losses to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees to the exchequer.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)