Senthilbalaji, while intervening during the debate on the Governor’s address in the House, questioned the AIADMK’s claim about the state being power surplus and wondered why about 2.42 lakh farmers were waiting for electricity connection if the state was really power surplus.
Pointing that only a third of the state’s electricity requirement was being produced by the TNEB, while another third comes from Central grid and a like volume of electricity was being purchased from private producers, Senthilbalaji said the Electricity Department was ridden with Rs 1.59 lakh crore debt and each year about Rs 13,000 crore was being paid in interest alone by the government for loans borrowed at high interest ranging from 9 per cent to 13 per cent.
Claiming that the DMK regime has held talks with the bankers to reduce the annual interest by Rs 2,000 crore per year, he said the previous AIADMK regime had purchased power as high as Rs 7 per unit, while power producers were ready to supply at Rs 3 – 3.5 per unit now. Senthilbalaji also told the House that the previous AIADMK regime has made such power purchase agreements that the state must pay Rs 4,500 crore to firms irrespective of whether they supply or do not supply electricity to the government.
Attempting to respond to the Minister, AIADMK MLA Thangamani, who held the power portfolio in the previous regime, said that no state could claim to be surplus if everything must be generated in the state. As Thangamani continued to speak, DMK MLA from Mannargudi TRB Rajaa sought to raise objections to ex-ministers of AIADMK intervening frequently.
PWD Minister EV Velu joined the debate and said the House could not be run if the AIADMK ex-ministers intervened so frequently on every issue and attempted to clarify, a view also echoed by Speaker M Appavu. Sarcastically wondering how they had suffered during the AIADMK regime, an exasperated Velu even said the Leader of House (Duraimurugan) must clarify on such issues, but he was not doing it, prompting an intervention from Duraimurugan who asked the AIADMK MLAs to put an end to the issue with the Minister’s clarification.