CHENNAI: State Electricity Minister, Natham R Viswanathan and Rural Development Minister, S P Velumani, on Tuesday countered the Centre’s allegations that the State government refused to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the UDAY Scheme and instead laid a counter allegation that the State government had proposed some alternative measures, which the Centre had failed to consider.
In a joint statement, the two ministers said the Central government did not sign the pact because there were several shortcomings in the UDAY. They said the Central government was aiming to provide 24-hour electricity supply and reducing the loss. But at a recent press conference, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had said that the State government was not interested in taking the benefit to honest consumers in Tamil Nadu.
“In Tamil Nadu, except pumpsets for farmers and huts of poor, all other connections have been metered. By uttering such words, did the Minister mean that farmers and those living in huts were stealing power?” they asked.
The ministers said that in TN around 98 per cent of electricity bills are paid. In 2011, around 40 vigilance squads consisting of ex-servicemen were created to check power thefts. “As of now, power thefts stood at just 0.01 per cent in Tamil Nadu,” they said.
Pointing out the drawbacks in the UDAY, the ministers said the scheme was aimed at reducing the loss to 15 per cent by 2018-19. They charged that the Centre had neither provided the infrastructure nor a single rupee to the cause. But Tamil Nadu has been taking several steps to reduce losses. In 2014-15, the overall loss was around `12,700 crore, but it had come down due to various steps taken by the government, they added.