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Free power in return for State power- CMs trade accusations

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday accused Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal of making false poll promises on free electricity, saying the AAP leader ignored farmers in his own state. He recently pledged free electricity to households that consume no more than 300 units per billing cycle and round-the-clock supply if his Aam Aadmi Party is elected to power in Punjab next year. Singh’s Congress leaders are also stressing this issue as Punjab faces a power crisis.

The chief minister’s deputy, Navjot Singh Sidhu, also argued with the CM that 300 units should be given to consumers. According to the chief minister, AAP’s model of providing power to Delhi has failed. ‘The Kejriwal government has completely failed the people of Delhi, not providing free power to the farmers in the villages in the national capital, and charging excessive power tariffs to industries,’ Singh said in a statement. ‘Politics in Punjab are pathetic,’ he said, referring to the ‘model of governance’ used in Delhi.

Punjab’s chief minister called Delhi’s power tariff structure ‘organized loot’, accusing the AAP government of allowing private firms to collect excessive rates. Delhi charges Rs 9.80 per unit for power to industries, whereas Punjab offers a subsidized tariff of Rs. 5 to attract business to the state, which has seen more than Rs 85,000 crore worth of investment in the last four years. Punjab is providing subsidized power to 1,43,812 industrial units with an annual subsidy of Rs 2,226 crore, according to his statement.

Delhi’s AAP government has made no effort to extend similar support to the agricultural community there, as contrasted to Punjab, where his government is giving free power worth Rs 6,735 crore to 13,79,217 farmers. Singh allegedly accused the Delhi government of ‘befooling’ people by putting a small amount in one pocket, the free 200 units of domestic power, and taking a big amount from another pocket -the tariff for shopkeepers, industry, and farmers.

Small shopkeepers and other commercial establishments in Delhi pay the Delhi government a rate that is 50% higher than in Punjab, he claimed. According to the CM, the Punjab government pays an annual subsidy bill of Rs 10,458 crore, while the Kejriwal government pays out Rs 2,820 crore. Punjab’s average power subsidy per person is 3,486 rupees, about Rs. 1,410 more than that of Delhi.

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In 2020-21, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited sold 46,713 MW of power, while Delhi distribution companies sold 27,436 MW, according to the statement. According to him, Delhi earned Rs 20,556 crore while Punjab earned Rs 29,903 crore. Resultantly, the average unit cost in Punjab was Rs 6.40, while the cost in Delhi was Rs 7.49, he noted.


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