Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said that Congress ministers should not try to victimize bureaucrats for chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s failure as the state power minister to augment power supply during the paddy season as well as ignoring the need to ensure maintenance of the transmission and distribution system which had created havoc in Punjab.
In a statement here, SAD Kisan Wing President Sikander Singh Maluka said Cooperation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa should call a spade a spade.
“It does not behove a senior minister to act in such a meek manner and try to hide the truth which is before the people. It is a fact that Capt Amarinder Singh has failed to do his duty as the Power minister first by shuttering himself in his farm house and not holding any review meeting of the state electricity utility and then by constantly trooping to Delhi to save his chair. It is because of this that farmers, industrialists, traders and the common man have suffered and Mr Randhawa should acknowledge this fact instead of trying to blame the bureaucracy for the failures of the chief minister,” the statement read.
Stating that the demand in Punjab had risen by 500 mega watts each year, Maluka said, “this is a fact known to everyone. Despite this the chief minister did not take any step to augment power supply. In fact it was the chief minister, and not any bureaucrat, who ordered the closure of the Bathinda thermal plant and two units of the Ropar plant.”
“This is not all. Despite fervent pleas from the PSPCL engineers that they did not have even basic equipment to take care of breakages, the government did not take any action adding to the misery of farmers,” he added.
Maluka said it was shocking that even while the Congress government was speaking out against the private thermal plants which had come up during SAD government tenure and were providing power at a basic rate of Rs 2.89 per unit, the government was purchasing power in the open market at an exorbitant price of Rs.12.40 per unit.
He said despite this the government allowed one unit of the Talwandi Sabo private plant to remain closed for months and when the other unit at the same plant developed a snag the situation became precarious.
Stating that the Punjab chief minister was directly responsible for this state of affairs, Maluka demanded that the state government should pay a bonus of Rs 50 per quintal on paddy to farmers who were forced to spend thousands of rupees on a daily basis to irrigate their paddy crop through diesel generators due to severe power cuts.
He said a girdwari should also be done to assess land where paddy could not be transplanted due to the State government’s failure to provide power to farmers.
“Such farmers should be given compensation of Rs 20,000 per acre”, he added.