Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday slammed the Congress-led government in Punjab over the current power situation, alleging that the crisis was entirely “man-made” and a direct consequence of the ruling dispensation’s “utter neglect and absence of advance planning and preparedness”.
His remarks come amid state-owned utility PSPCL saying that up to three-hour daily power cut will remain in the state till October 13. Severe coal shortage has forced the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) to cut down power generation and impose load shedding.
“It (power crisis) is a part of the overall administrative paralysis gripping Punjab today following the ruling party’s obsession with power games and vendetta politics.
“This is a crisis that was waiting to happen and it has nothing to do with the much touted shortage of coal elsewhere. The ministry of coal has clarified that there is no shortage of coal supplies in the country. That clearly shows that the Punjab government is the real villain as it was not keeping the required reserves of coal to meet such situations,” Badal said in a statement.
“This is what this Congress government is doing to Punjab which we had turned into a power surplus state,” he said.
The former deputy chief minister said power was one of the key priority areas during the previous Akali government.
Apart from revolutionising power availability, the SAD government had laid a special emphasis on green energy. The state was acknowledged as the leader in adding solar power capacity, he stated.
Badal further alleged that the “looming crisis once again highlights the total contrast between the flawless and efficient manner in which the Akali government led by Parkash Singh Badal addressed the people’s issues and the utterly irresponsible and incompetent way in which the present rulers are doing it”.
“When we assumed office in 2007, the state was used to daily power cuts lasting 14 to 16 hours. We promised to turn Punjab into a power surplus state and we made the people forget power cuts even during the peak summer months, while the Congress rulers are unable to manage the situation even when there is no pressure of extra load,” the statement added.
The SAD leader said the present power crisis was easily foreseeable and manageable if the government had the time and the will to prepare for it in advance.
“But they have wasted nearly five years either in ‘power crisis’ within the party or in vendetta against political rivals. They believe that they do not need to govern or to address the people’s problems and that they can regain power simply by putting Akalis in jail on false allegations,” he said.
“Coal shortages are nothing new and these happened during our times also. We always kept enough coal in reserves and never let the state run into such foreseeable and preventable crises,” Badal added.