Amarinder’s call for voluntary surrender of subsidy goes unheeded
No Punjab leader except AAP’s Khaira gave up power subsidy
By Raju William
Chandigarh, September 13, 2017: The information received by RTI Activist and Advocate Hari Chand Arora from the office of Chief Engineer/Commercial, Patiala of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), showed that only one farmer, Sukhpal Singh Khaira who is now Leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha and AAP MLA from Bholath had submitted a letter for voluntary surrendering of AP subsidy of 9 tube-well connections.
His application for the purpose was taken up by the concerned Committee in its 180th meeting held on April 11, 2016, and it was decided that in case a consumer willfully opts to surrender the AP subsidy, then AP Tariff without such subsidy shall be applicable.
Subsequently, the GOP took a decision, which was conveyed by OSD/Power Reforms to the PSPCL, that in case any consumer of his own free will wants to surrender the AP tube-well power subsidy, the Government shall not have any objection to it. It was therefore, decided that necessary action be taken on the letter submitted by Sukhpal Singh Khaira (then Ex-MLA) accordingly.
The aforesaid information has been provided to Advocate Hari Chand Arora in response to an application submitted on August 7, 2017 by him to the SPIO in the office of Secretary PSPCL, Patiala, asking him to give the list of those farmers, who have given up/surrendered power subsidy on the appeal of Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh. Advocate Arora had also requested that a copy of the scheme, if any, framed by the PSPCL for giving up power subsidy by farmers be also supplied to him.
Thus, it appears that the scheme for voluntary surrendering of power subsidy of tube-wells has proved a big flop, and not even a single farmer has submitted any application for surrendering the power subsidy. Even Captain Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister, Punjab himself has not so far surrendered the power subsidy, nor any of his Cabinet Ministers, or Congress MLAs, have done so. Opposition parties have also not responded to the call of Chief Minister.
It is worth mentioning that as per RTI information received by advocate H.C. Arora, separately from PSPCL, total figure of power subsidy for farmers as determined by the Regulatory Commission for the year 2016-2017 is Rs.6113.66 crores, against which the PSPCL has so far been released subsidy amount of Rs.3985.59 crore only.
Further, it appears that the Punjab Government is not paying the total amount of such power subsidy for farmers during the previous years. For instance, against an amount of Rs.5253.89 crore determined by the Regulatory Commission for the year 2015-2016, the State Government has released only an amount of Rs.4337.00 crore. Thus, the remaining burden of Rs.916 crore, during 2015-2016, and of Rs. 2128 crore for the year 2016-2017 has been borne by the PSPCL.