Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today alleged failure of the Centre to push power sector reforms was responsible for drastic cut in power rates due to which distribution companies had no money to buy power from power surplus states like HP.
Replying to a question by Kuldeep Singh Pathania (Cong) regarding revenue earned by the state on account of sale of power during Question Hour in the Assembly, he said it was a matter of grave concern for the state. “When distribution companies have no money to purchase, how will it be possible for power producers to sell the generated power,” he said. He said rates of power had drastically come down from Rs 5.78 per unit in 2008 to Rs 2.50 per unit this year and as a result, Himachal Pradesh, inspite of increased power generation, did not get more revenue. “States like UP which bought power from us before the Assembly polls owe Himachal Rs 200 crore and inspite of reminders to the chief minister and Union ministry, payment has not been made till date,” he said.
He claimed Congress-led UPA was unconcerned towards problems faced by the state and despite Supreme Court verdict awarding share in some projects to Himachal Pradesh, arrears of power to the tune of over Rs 4,000 crore still existed. The matter is still pending and now the amount of arrears was reportedly being reduced to Rs 850 crore, he said, adding that in such an eventuality, the state will move the Supreme Court to get its legitimate claim. Dhumal said to Congress legislators, “instead of covering up for the discriminatory approach of the Centre, it would be far better if you cooperate in securing the dues.”
In reply to another question by Tejwant Singh Negi (BJP), Dhumal said power development companies were required to pay local area development fund at the rate of 1.5 per cent of the total project cost and Rs 192.93 crore had been paid while a sum of Rs 264 was yet to be deposited. In reply to another question by Kaul Singh Thakur (Cong) on the action taken against illegal mobile towers in the state, Urban Development minister Mahender Singh said Shimla Municipal Corporation had passed orders for removal of four towers and proceedings against others were underway. The minister said a total of 184 towers were illegally functioning in the municipal limits and there were 535 towers in the entire state
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