BHUBANESWAR:Even as the State Government is under fire from the Opposition over power tariff hike, senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday said the ruling BJD must explain the compelling reasons for such rise in tariff.
“If power can be supplied to the consumers at a cheaper rate in Delhi, there is no logic why it will be costlier in a coal-bearing State like Odisha,” Yechury told a media conference here.
While the average rate of power up to 400 units in Delhi is about Rs 2.24 per unit, the average unit rate in Odisha is Rs 3.68 despite the fact that the State is rich in coal deposit and a number of pit-head-based thermal power plants.
“The recent hike in power tariff defies logic and the State Government needs to explain the people about it,” the CPM Rajya Sabha member said.
Claiming that the reverse auction of Mandakini and Utkal-C coal blocks in the State has given windfall profit to private companies, Yechury said the State could have earned an extra Rs 2 lakh crore if the two blocks were auctioned on forward auction route.
Mandakini block meant for the power sector is having one of the largest extractable reserves at 287.88 million tonne (MT) and Utkal-C coal block has reserves of about 123.8 MT.
Alleging that something is brewing between the BJP and BJD, Yechury said the sudden change of stand of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik towards the NDA Government at Centre has baffled many.
The unexpected support of the BJD to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill and the Coal Mines (Special Provision) Bill in Rajya Sabha has lent further credence to the speculation of the regional party inching closure to the saffron brigade.
The Chief Minister wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing both the Bills. But the regional party changed its stand at the last moment, Yechury alleged.
The BJD changed its stand after the Chief Minister’s meeting with some Union ministers, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal and Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. It seems that the BJD, which is facing chit fund and mining scams, had struck a deal with the BJP, he remarked.
Responding to a query on the demand for bringing Naveen under the purview of the CBI probe into coal block allocation, Yechury said it is up to the court since the matter is under judicial scrutiny.