Hyderabad: Telangana on Friday strongly opposed the proposed Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 being brought to make changes to the Electricity Act 2003, during a video conference with Power Ministers of all States by Union Minister of State for Power RK Singh.
G Jagadish Reddy, representing the State, told the Centre that the Bill was just aimed at handing over the crucial public utility sector to private players. Later, briefing the media about the conference, Jagadish Reddy said that he had reiterated the issues raised by the Chief Minister in his letter to the Prime Minister opposing the Bill. “We are opposing it as no item in the Bill is of any help to either the consumer or the State governments,” he said.
Jagadish said they had further explained that Telangana farmers, who had been receiving free quality power round the clock, would be deeply hurt and low-income domestic consumers that receive cross-subsidy would also be put into trouble, if the Bill became an Act.
“I have told the Union Minister that the Telangana Cabinet also discussed the Bill and opposed it. It is aimed at usurping the powers of the States. Power being in the concurrent list doesn’t mean that it could be taken away from the gambit of States,” he pointed out. He further said that the State was of the view that the Bill was drafted to favour private investors. States such as Punjab, Kerala, West Bengal and Rajasthan also strongly opposed the Bill at the conference.
“Even as the Centre has recently announced that it is ready to alter the clause of centralising Electricity Regulatory Commissions (ERCs), it has not sent us a changed draft so far,” he added. The State also urged the Centre to reduce the interest rates of loans proposed by the Power Finance Corp (PFC) and the REC Ltd to State distribution utilities to 8.5 percent from 9.5 per cent for the next 60 days under the Rs 90,000-crore liquidity infusion package. The discoms were under severe financial stress due to the lack of collections during the lockdown, he said.
Bhadradri second unit synchronised
The Minister also announced that the second unit of the 1,080-MW (4×270 MW) Bhadradri Thermal Power Plant near Edulla Bayyaram was synchronised with the grid on Friday and the commercial production had begun. “It should have been started earlier, but a few forces that disliked Telangana becoming self-reliant in power had moved courts. We have succeeded in completing it. Within a month or so, we will complete the third unit,” he said.
He said that the works were going on at brisk pace even as many migrant labourers were planning to go return home. “We have convinced them to stay back and are providing all facilities,” he said. He said that all the four units would be ready soon. The first unit was commissioned on June 9 2020.
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