Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao (File photo)
HYDERABAD: Expressing strong objection on the draft Electricity Amendment Bill-2020 proposed by the ministry of power, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said the amendments to the Electricity Bill are against the federal spirt of the country. He said the proposed amendments were neither in the public interest nor in the interest of state power utilities and the state government.
The chief minister said the proposed amendments would take away the rights and functions of the state government.
KCR wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday raising objections on the new Electricity Bill and asked the Prime Minister to advise the energy ministry to withdraw the amendments in the public interest. In his two-page letter, KCR mentioned some of the key amendments which are detrimental to the interests of the state.
The ministry of power proposed certain amendments to the Electricity Bill and sought views from the state governments last month. The Telangana CM expressed serious concern as it would have a direct negative bearing on the function of the power sector in the state.
He said the proposed Bill seeks to take away the functions of the state government by constitution of the state electricity regulatory commission, which is against the spirit of federalism. It was also proposed to set up a parallel authority Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority at the central level to handle all contractual issues which leads to multiplicity of litigation as contracts are to be adjudicated by the civil courts, the CM said.
“It is proposed that the commission will fix the tariff for all the consumers without any subsidy. Presently, tariff fixation by the commission includes cross-subsidy to be borne by a certain category of consumers. With the proposed amendment, bills are to be issued for actual cost to all the categories of consumers, including agriculture. We strongly oppose this,” the chief minister said.
As there is a provision to appoint the State Electricity Regulatory Authority by a select committee constituted by the Centre and entrusting responsibilities, KCR said it is nothing but hitting the core of the federal policy. “The concurrent subject of the Constitution does not mean the Centre makes law as it wishes, which is highly objectionable.”
On the other key amendment, it was proposed to incorporate direct benefit transfer of subsidy provided to consumers, particularly to the agriculture and domestic sectors. This would go against the farmers and very poor domestic consumers.