‘Electricity Amendment Bill will snatch State’s powers’

Briefing media persons at DMK headquarters Anna Arivalayam, Senthilbalaji referred to the DMK’s vociferous opposition to the Bill in the Lok Sabha this morning and said the Union government has tabled the Bill in haste despite knowing its adverse effects.
State Electricity Minister V Senthilbalaji
State Electricity Minister V Senthilbalaji

CHENNAI: State Electricity Minister V Senthilbalaji on Monday said that the Electricity Amendment Bill 2022 tabled in the Parliament by the BJP-led government would adversely affect the poor, farmers and domestic consumers availing 100 units of free power.

Briefing media persons at DMK headquarters Anna Arivalayam, Senthilbalaji referred to the DMK’s vociferous opposition to the Bill in the Lok Sabha this morning and said the Union government has tabled the Bill in haste despite knowing its adverse effects.

Claiming that the Bill provides automatic issue of licences if the applications are not engaged/declined within a stipulated time, he said that the provisions of the amendment bill allow private players to avail licence and utilise the infrastructure developed by public sector power firms without paying any fee.

Noting that infrastructure developed by TNEB upon incurring Rs 1.5 lakh crore debt would be utilised by the private firms for free, the minister said that the private firms would try to avail licence and cater to the high-end commercial customers.

Remarking that free power to the hut dwellers, farmers, weavers and 100 free units to domestic consumers would be affected by the amendment, the minister said that the Union government has tabled the Bill in haste under such a circumstance.

Alleging that the Bill would allow the central regulatory authority to snatch the powers of the State regulatory authorities and render them powerless, Balaji said, “Every State has different practices. Some states have free power schemes for farmers. The State authorities will be compelled to comply with the orders of the central regulatory authorities.”

Pointing out that the Bill has proposed to increase the penalty imposed on state regulatory authorities for not enforcing the orders of the central authority, Senthilbalaji said the Bill has been sent to the Standing Committee of the Parliament owing to the opposition of the DMK.

Asked about the DMK’s opposition to the Bill, he said the party fully and comprehensively opposes it. Wondering what was the stand of Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami on the issue, Balaji said that the AIADMK should oppose it in the Parliament if it is really concerned about public welfare. Alleging that the Bill fully encourages privatisation, the DMK minister said that the DMK members would register their opposition in the Standing committee.

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