Thursday 3 June 2021

Privatization of Electricity Department in UT Flayed

By 121 News
Chandigarh June 03, 2021:-A group of about forty persons gathered in Sector 40 and   expressed in one voice to criticize the administration action to privatize the electricity department of  UT Chandigarh. Though they have welcomed the latest decision of the honourable  Punjab and Haryana High Court to stay the  privatization process, yet the  citizens expressed their views  that the danger of  privatization is looming large which is harmful  for the  citizens.
The draft National Electricity Policy (NEP) -a guiding  policy  for planning power generation, supply and investment, under the Indian Electricity Act, 2003 has  laid emphasis   on increasing private participation, especially in power distribution.The draft policy has called for major reforms in distribution as this sector is marred with much inefficiency like high AT&C losses, inadequate system planning, poor upkeep and maintenance of equipment etc and leading to poor consumer satisfaction.
Contrary to above parameters, the UT electricity department does not come at all under the ambit of   the draft National Electricity Policy due to the following reasons.
Everybody knows UT Chandigarh does not have its own generating system of power except solar, thus the department purchases power from various utilities like Central Electricity Authority, Bhakra Beas Management Board etc and further distributes it to more than two lakh consumers. 
Further to this the plus point of the functioning of the department is that there are  about 10 percent less AT&C losses as technically 15 percent admissible because of the efficiency of the staff of the electricity department.
The staff employed for the transmission and distribution job of the electricity department is doing its job efficiently and because of their hard labour, the electricity department is running in profit to the tune of about Rs.200 crore per year.
Experience shows wherever the unbundling has been done; there is no appreciable improvement in the electricity system in the country as a whole and the tariff is much more than the UT Chandigarh for which the Chandigarh residents of Chandigarh will feel the pinch.
From the above point of view, neither there are transmission losses, nor there is poor consumer satisfaction as laid down by the National Electricity Policy. By following such a policy to privatize the electricity department, neither this will give any benefit to the administration nor to the residents. But certainly, to the private players who will earn huge money by raising the tariff for which the residents will have to face the heat of exorbitant tariff. As a matter of fact, If the administration wants to bring more improvements in the electricity system and  to give relief to the residents, there is only one alternative: to fill up the sanctioned posts of every rank in the department on regular basis  and provide   every kind of required infrastructure which are lacking over the years. 
Since electricity is an essential service for socio-economic development, it cannot be left in private hands for them to make profits in a country like India.
Gopal Dutt Joshi,General Secretary, UT Electricity Employees Union  while addressing the gathering briefed the residents how they have been fighting against the privatization in the streets as well as in the corridor of power including the judiciary.  He highlighted  there is nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and the corporate who want to fleece the people as in the event of privatization there would be a cascading affect in the society. 
Mrs Gurbax Rawat, Councillor  while thanking the audience said that in case the decision to privatize the electricity department is not rescinded, the people will resort to agitation for which the entire responsibility rests on the  administration.

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