The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said new Power minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar was contradicting his own Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh by claiming the State had not reached power surplus status besides lying that the decision to close down the Bathinda thermal plant was taken by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government.In a statement here, former minister and SAD spokesman Maheshinder Singh Grewal said it was shocking that Gurpreet Kangar was claiming that Punjab had not achieved power surplus status even though chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had made this averment immediately after taking over the reins of the State. He said Capt Amarinder Singh had told corporate heads that the State had become power surplus during the previous SAD-BJP tenure while urging them to invest in Punjab. “This is also a recorded fact. Capt Amarinder has gone on record to state that Punjab is the only power surplus State in the country with abundance of cheap power for industrial units. If you still don’t want to believe this then you must come clean and state that your chief minister was lying while making this statement. If not then you should apologize to Punjabis for making such utterly irresponsible and false statements which are likely to scare away potential investors and cost the State dear”.
Mr Maheshinder Grewal said it was also surprising that the new Power minister, who was himself accused of collecting goonda tax from contractors of Bathinda refinery, was so ignorant about the power surplus status of Punjab which had also been referred to repeatedly by finance minister Manpreet Badal while making out a case to close down the Bathinda thermal plant. “If you were so sure that the State had not achieved power surplus status why didn’t you contradict your finance minister and why did you support the closure of the Bathinda thermal plant?” he asked.Asking the new Power minister to get his facts straight and not lie to the people, the Akali leader said Kangar had also claimed that the process to close down the Bathinda thermal plant had been almost completed by the previous SAD-BJP government. “For Kangar’s information during SAD-BJP tenure Rs 600 crore was spent on modernization of the plant and that the cabinet refused to entertain any proposal to close down the plant.
The Bathinda thermal plant was closed after the Congress government’s council of ministers took a decision in this regard on December 20 last year. Kangar should not mouth lies to shield the wrong decisions taken by his government”, Mr Grewal added.Mr Grewal said the truth of the matter was that Punjab had become power surplus due to the vision of former deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal who had come out with a policy to establish three thermal plants in Punjab to generate an additional 4000 mw of power. “This was done to offset the 30 per cent deficit in power supply due to failure of the previous Congress government to add even one mega watt of power to the State pool. Mr Kangar can check all these figures as Power minister and explain if he came out with this misleading statement after anticipating his failure to provide efficient and regular power to farmers during the forthcoming paddy transplantation season”, the Akali leader added.