Badal urges PM to direct Power minister to withdraw proposed Electricity Bill
Chandigarh, (Gurpreet) – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Power minister not to pursue the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and to withdraw the same to ensure the federal rights of the States are not compromised in any manner.
The SAD President, who wrote a letter in this context to the Prime Minister, said the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 had become a cause of public concern because it impinged on the right of the States and was against the basic principle of federalism as enshrined in the constitution.
Mr Sukhbir Badal said the proposed bill prohibited States from giving subsidies and cross subsidies which was a direct attack on the constitutional right of State governments to help vulnerable sections of society. He said in case the Bill was passed many ongoing welfare schemes which provide subsidized power or free power to different sections of society would be adversely affected. “Besides causing administrative problems, the Bill also has the propensity to cause social unrest once it divests subsidized and free power from various sections of society including Scheduled Castes, under privileged sections and farmers”.
Mr Badal said consumers would also face the brunt in case the Bill was passed in its present form. He pointed out that as per the clauses of the Bill States would have to deposit payment for purchase of power in advance following which power would be given to the buyer. “This is likely to cause great hardship to States who are revenue deficient besides resulting in the burden being passed on to the consumer”, the SAD President added
The SAD President said the bill, if passed in its present form, would take away the power of State governments to appoint Chairman and Members of the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions. He said it also envisaged constitution of the Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority (ECEA) which would take upon itself the powers enjoyed by the State governments.
He also disclosed how the proposed Bill would also adversely affect distribution and transmission companies established by various States as per their respective Electricity Acts. He said the Bill proposed to give power to the generation companies to appoint their own distribution and transmission franchisees without taking any permission from the State regulatory authorities