Punjab’s Power Minister Harbhajan Singh has blamed the previous governments for not upgrading power plants in the state.
- Parts of Punjab are experiencing 10 to 13 hours-long power cuts
- The cuts have adversely affected farming and industrial sectors in Punjab
- Govt said that demand has gone up by 40% because of the rising temperature
Punjab power crisis: The Opposition parties have mocked the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) government in Punjab over its ‘free’ electricity promise as the state faces ‘massive’ power outages. They alleged that the Bhagwant Mann government has failed to ensure promised round-the-clock electricity to consumers, adding that several areas are experiencing 10 to 13-hours-long power cuts. The situation is even worst in rural areas.
“By now Mann Sahab, you must have realized that governance is a real challenge and not a laughter challenge,” Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring said in a jibe directed at Mann.
Warring posted on his social media platforms an old video clip of Mann where he is seen describing the electricity shortage in Punjab in his characteristic satirical style. “Now that you are at the helm of affairs and are already aware of the problem, what stops you from sorting this out,” he posed.
The Congress leader alleged the government has not taken any initiative to overcome the shortage and supply uninterrupted power to the agriculture sector during the paddy season.
SAD questions ‘Delhi model’
Hitting out at the AAP government, SAD leader Balwinder Singh Bhundar said, “The Delhi model has electrocuted Punjab. Punjabis, who had been promised round-the-clock power supply, facing 18-hour power cuts at the onset of the summer season. If this is the change the AAP promised, then it will only lead to the destruction of the state’s agriculture and industrial economy and cause untold hardship to the common people.”
Bhundar claimed the “breakdown” has also proved that the AAP did not have any vision document to make the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) self-sufficient. It befooled Punjabis with the promise of around-the-clock power supply, he alleged.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu also took a swipe at Mann for power outages. “AAP got a chance, now no electricity during the day or at night,” he tweeted in Hindi.
Punjab BJP general secretary Jiwan Gupta said the tall claims of AAP of providing 24-hour electricity supply have been exposed with the long power cuts in the state. “There are 12-hour-long power cuts in villages in Punjab. Villagers are feeling harassed. Crops are getting damaged as they are not able to get water for irrigation due to inadequate power,” he said.
Minister blames previous govts
However, Punjab’s Power Minister Harbhajan Singh said that driven by the rising temperature, the demand for electricity shot up by 40 per cent compared to the corresponding period of last year. Not only Punjab, other states too are facing similar problems, he said, adding that the Chief Minister was monitoring the situation.
He also sought to blame the previous governments for not upgrading power plants in Punjab. He also accused the previous Congress dispensation of not doing anything to prepare for this season.
The frequent load shedding has adversely affected farming and industrial sectors, besides causing inconvenience to the consumers. Farmers’ body Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee has announced a protest in Amritsar today in front of the house of Harbhajan Singh.
According to official sources, the maximum demand for power has reached 7,675 MW in the state, a PTI report said. On Wednesday, there was a shortage of 282 lakh units in the state with electricity supply availability from all sources remaining at 1,679 lakh units, they said.
Already two units of Talwandi Sabo, one unit each of the Ropar thermal plant and GVK plant remained shut, affecting power generation, the sources said.
Coal supply continued to remain worrisome with the Ropar thermal plant having coal for 8.3 days, Lehra Mohabbat plant for four days and GVK for 2.4 days, said sources. Harbhajan Singh said one unit of the Ropar thermal plant on Thursday started generating power and one unit of Talwandi Sabo will start power generation on Friday.
With PTI Inputs