CHANDIGARH: As Punjab reels under an unprecedented power shortage amid dry spells, ruling Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday said the power purchase agreements (PPAs) signed during the former SAD-BJP government went against the state's public interest while urging a law be brought in now to nullify them.
In a series of tweets on the power issue, Sidhu said there was no need for power cuts in Punjab or for the chief minister to regulate the office timings if the state acts "in the right direction".
"Truth of Power Costs, Cuts, Power Purchase Agreements & How to give Free & 24 hour Power to the People of Punjab:- 1.There is No need for Power-Cuts in Punjab or for the Chief Minister to regulate office timings or AC use of the Common People . If we Act in the right direction," said Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
The state government on Thursday ordered reduction in timings of state government offices from Friday and cut down on power supply to high energy consuming industries.
The CM had also appealed to all government offices to make judicious use of electricity in government offices, adding that the situation was dire as the peak demand in the state had touched a whopping 14,500 MW.
"Punjab can purchase power from National Grid at much cheaper rates, but these [during SAD-BJP government] Badal-signed PPAs are acting against Punjab's Public Interest.
"Punjab may not be able to re-negotiate these PPAs due to them having legal protection from Hon'ble Courts, But there is a way forward," tweeted Sidhu.
He said the Punjab Assembly can bring in new legislation with retrospective effect to cap power purchase costs to prices available on the National Power Exchange at any given time.
"Thus, By amending the Law, these Agreements will become Null & Void, saving People of Punjab's Money," he said in another tweet.
Notably, Punjab's main opposition party AAP had on Monday also alleged that "faulty" PPAs signed during the tenure of the previous SAD-BJP government were adversely affecting the state's power utility.
AAP state unit chief and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann had claimed that the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has so far paid Rs 20,000 crore as fixed charges to three private thermal plants set up during the tenure of the previous government.
Of this, almost Rs 5,700 crore had been paid without getting any power supply, he said.