As Punjab experiences an unprecedented power outage in the midst of a scorching heat wave, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday said that a legal strategy was being drafted to counter the Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) that were financially draining the state exchequer.
Former cabinet minister and CMs detractor, Navjot Singh Sidhu had on Friday said in a tweet that a review of the PPAs signed during the SAD regime was required.
The Chief Minister, who chaired a meeting to review the power situation in the state on Saturday, said that a carefully charted legal course of action was being formulated to save Punjab from further financial losses due to the PPAs signed by the Badals during their rule.
Of the 139 PPAs signed during the SAD-BJP Government, 17 were enough to cater to the state’s full power demand, he pointed out, adding that the remaining 122 for 1,314 MWs of expensive power were inexplicably signed, putting unnecessary financial burden on the state.
Even as he appealed to the people to use power judiciously and cooperate with the government in overcoming the temporary shortage of power, the Amarinder Singh said that against the supply of 13,500 MW, the demand last week touched an unprecedented 16,000 MW.
Immediately, PSPCL started purchasing 7,400 MW of power from outside the state, he said, adding that this was 1,000 MW more than what was purchased last year.
Had the quantum of purchase not been promptly enhanced, the state would have faced an additional deficit of 1,000 MW of power, further aggravating the crisis, he claimed.
The Chief Minister said the present crisis was the result of failure of one unit of the Talwandi Sabo Power Plant, generating 660 MW of power. While a notice had already been issued to the plant by PSPCL for imposing a heavy penalty, the state government had, on its part, taken strong measures to address the power shortage, he added.
These measures, he said, included three weekly days off for the industry, including rolling mills and induction furnaces, from July 1 to 7.
Only essential services and continuous process industries have been exempted from these regulations, he added.
Further, the state government offices have also been directed to function from 8 AM to 2 PM till July 10, with use of air conditioners prohibited in these offices.
Meanwhile, there was no relief from hot weather conditions in Punjab on Saturday, with Bathinda recording a high of 42 degrees Celsius.
Among other places in Punjab, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Faridkot recorded their maximum temperatures at 35.4, 35.2, 37.8 and 37 degrees Celsius respectively, according to a report of the Meteorological Department here.