Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is understood to have asked his peers in the Congress to prepare people for the “worst ever power situation” in the state in the coming summer. He is also believed to have expressed his inability to cut the fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA) levy on power consumers as it is being collected as per court orders.
The FSA as well as the power crisis created rumblings in the Congress party’s preparatory meeting held at Gandhi Bhavan on Wednesday for the proposed maiden regional convention slated for Jan 7 in Vijayawada.
Apart from chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana, ministers Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, Vatti Vasanth Kumar, Pithani Satyanarayana, K Parthasaradhi, Kasu Venkata Krishna Reddy and P Bala Raju and several party MPs, MLAs, MLCs took part in the meeting.
According to sources, during the meeting, Kiran Reddy raised the power issue on his own and explained how his government is trying to bail out the state from a serious power crisis by spending double the amount compared to last year to procure additional power.
“Last year, we have spent Rs 3,000 crore to buy power. But this year, our government is spending Rs 6,000 crore to meet the electricity demand. Despite the grave power situation in the state, the government is committed to supplying seven-hour power to the farming sector. For this, we are bearing an additional burden of Rs 1,200 crore. You please explain all these things to the people when you tour your constituencies,” Kiran Reddy told his party leaders.
When the chief minister was telling this, Guntur MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao’s brother and MLC Rayapati Srinivas intervened and told him: “People are very angry over the way the government is collecting FSA from them. We are unable to face the people over this issue.”
However, the chief minister made it clear that the state government had no option but to collect the levy from consumers. It was the additional fuel cost not collected from consumers by discoms from 2008 to 2009 during the regime of YS Rajasekhara Reddy, he said.
“Due to polls in 2009, the then government did not collect the FSA from consumers... We can’t avoid this as the High Court has directed the it,” the chief minister said.