CHENNAI: Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Tuesday took strong exception to the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014, introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 19 and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw it immediately as the move has been made without consulting the States.
“Further, it went against ‘cooperative federalism’ which you have been espousing,” he said in a letter to the Prime Minister.
Considering the sensitivity of the issue the Prime Minister should convene a meeting of all Chief Ministers to discuss the consequences of such amendments, he said and sought an immediate positive response.
“Such a skewed amendment to the Electricity Act without proper consultation with the State governments at the appropriate level, and without considering their views, is totally against the federal spirit of the Indian Constitution and cooperative federalism which you have been espousing,” the Chief Minister said.
Stating that the amendment Bill would have far reaching implications, Panneerselvam said this seeks to bring significant changes in the existing Electricity Act without taking the State governments into confidence and getting their concurrence. “By separating carriage and content in the distribution sector, this Bill, in one stroke, will make all power utilities in the public sector totally unviable,” he pointed out.
The Chief Minister also brought to the notice of the Prime Minister that the amendment would make the State public sector power distribution companies further financially sick. Further, he pointed out that this would give unbridled access to private players to supply power to consumers and enable them to use the already laid out distribution network of the public sector power companies.
Panneerselvam also said without any investment in the distribution network or any responsibility to maintain the network, the proposed supply licensees would be able to access all the high-value customers in commercially viable areas, amounting to cherry picking without any social obligations, while the State public sector power utilities would only be left with the obligation of power supply to subsidised categories of consumers.