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Put on hold privatisation of Chandigarh electricity distribution

VINOD GUPTA | April 15, 2021 03:09 PM

CHANDIGARH: Government must put on hold the privitisation of electricity distribution and stop entrusting the electricity departments of union territories to private enterprises.

V K Gupta Spokesperson All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) said that neither the draft amendment Bill 2021 nor the standard bidding document has not been finalised but the union territories of Chandigarh and Dadra Nagar
Haveli is moving very fast towards the privatisation of their electricity departments.

The Standard Bid Documents for privatizing electricity distribution were put on Ministry Website on 22 Sept 2020 and were to be applied across the entire country.

Now Ministry of power has stated in the RTI reply that the SBDs have still not been finalised. This reply puts a question mark over the entire bidding process of UTs privatisation process.

While in Chandigarh the bidding was for 100% equity, in Dadra Nagar Haveli it was for 51%. There are confusion and uncertainty in overbidding the process itself.

Padamjit Singh Chief Patron AIPEF said that in the case of Dadra Nagar haveli, the bids had been opened and Torrent had claimed to
have won the bid with the highest offer of Rs 555 lacs against a reserve price of Rs 150 Lacs.

Bombay High Court has stayed the further process in case of a PIL filed before it.
In the case of UT Chandigarh, the technical bids were opened on 18 March but the opening of Financial bids is awaited. Here also the UT Powermen Union had challenged the bidding before Punjab Haryana High Court and the next date of hearing is 29th. April.

V K Gupta further said that the Union Ministry of Power has constituted a high-level steering committee
headed by Secretary Power to guide and steer the privatization of UTs electricity distribution. The Union Home Ministry has constituted another committee headed by the Union Home Secretary as all UTs are under the administrative control of the Home Ministry.

The draft amendment bill 2021 has been circulated to the selected few in the month of February and the union power minister held a discussion on the proposals with all the state power secretaries and CMDs of Discom and regulators.
Power Minister has claimed that the Discoms inefficiency is the result of its monopoly and the government wants to replace its monopoly by competition and hence reforms in the power sector or essential. It is not understood how the transfer of an electricity department to a private player will ensure competition. This will lead to the exploitation of consumers and taxpayers in the long run.

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