Union food processing industry minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today said after reneging on his promise to farmers, chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh was backtracking on creating employment and even taking away State employment by refusing to consider the genuine demand to reopen the Bathinda thermal plant.In a statement here, the Union minister said instead of fulfilling his ghar ghar naukari scheme, the chief minister had taken away the livelihood of thousands of people of Bathinda by shutting down the Bathinda thermal plant. “Instead of understanding the plight of thousands of workers and their families as well as other people from all walks of life who are associated with the thermal plant, the CM was following a dictatorial attitude by stating that the decision will not be reversed”, she added.Stating that it was the will of the people which was supreme in any democracy and not that of any ‘Maharaja’, the Bathinda mp said it was shocking that an elected government was adopting this stance with its own people. “The Bathinda thermal plant is a full-fledged township with its own residential colony, market and school. The government is uprooting all these people living in the township and sending them to far off places without making any provision for a rehabilitation package for them. This is an injustice which will not be tolerated”, Mrs Badal said.
Speaking about the role of finance minister Manpreet Badal in the whole sordid episode, the Union minister said Manpreet had addressed a gate rally during the assembly elections and promised workers that the plant would be run on full load if the Congress came into power in the State. “However after coming to power Manpreet has led the movement to close down the thermal plant and sell its precious land. This is most unbecoming on the part of someone who represents Bathinda in the State assembly and amounts to betraying the faith and trust of his constituents”. Stating that the Bathinda thermal plant was an asset and should be treated as such, Mrs Badal said the plant had undergone an Rs 715 crore modernization and was fit to run till 2029. She said it was being blatantly misrepresented that the plant was producing power at Rs 11.50 per unit when this cost was in the vicinity of Rs 4 to Rs 4.50 per unit. Speaking about long term projections, Mrs Badal said the State was likely to be power deficit by 2022 considering availability of all four units of the Bathinda plant as well as generation of an additional 5775 mw power which may not come about. “Loss of 460 mw of power from the Bathinda plant will worsen this deficit”, she added.Stating that the entire issue was centered around a conspiracy to make use of the commercial value of the 2200 acre land parcel of the plant, Mrs Badal said instead of making anti-people statements which went against the essence of the promises made to the people, the CM should unmask and punish those who were causing a loss to the State. “This is what the people of Bathinda want and we should honour their sentiments”, she added. EOM