‘Irrelevant, biased’: How BRS chief KCR described Commission probing irregularities in power sector

In his 12-page letter to the Justice Narasimha Reddy commission, KCR said that it seemed as though the commission had already made up its mind to submit a report against the BRS government.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Jun 15, 2024 | 4:10 PM Updated Jun 15, 2024 | 4:10 PM

KCR on commission probing power sector irregularities

BRS supremo and former chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday, 15 June, suggested that Justice L Narasimha Reddy, who is probing the alleged  irregularities in the power sector when the BRS was in power, voluntarily step down from his responsibility.

In his 12-page letter to the Justice Narasimha Reddy commission, Chandrasekhar Rao said that it seemed as though the commission had already made up its mind to submit a report against the BRS government. Therefore, he expressed concern that whatever he might say in his reply to the commission would not be of any use.

KCR said the Justice Narasimha Reddy did not appear to be unbiased in conducting the inquiry. An inquiry officer should maintain an open mind, listen to both sides and base the report on documentary evidence.

However, contrary to the established traditions, Narasimha Reddy made comments at a recent news conference suggesting that irregularities had already been committed and that his responsibility was solely to calculate the loss to the state exchequer.

Also Read: Panel probing power sector ‘irregularities’ during BRS regime issues notice to KCR

‘Present government diminishing BRS achievements’

“You had served as a judge of the High Court but the way you are conducting the inquiry is against the principles of natural justice,” KCR said, adding that his words looked more like a verdict even before the inquiry was completed.

He said the incumbent government ordered Judicial Inquiry with a malafide intention of making the erstwhile BRS dispensation unpopular, despite the fact the “we had provided power supply to all sectors round the clock in a state which was clamouring for power at the time of its creation.”

The present government was attempting to diminish these achievements and make them seem insignificant by constituting the inquiry.

KCR said, “Making matters worse, after assuming charge, you (Justice Narasimha Reddy) spoke the way you liked at the recent news conference. In fact, I wanted to give my response to you before June after the Lok Sabha polls.”

“But you brought up my name in the press conference, despite the fact that I achieved the creation of Telangana state and served as the chief minister for 10 years. When I sought time to give my response, it was treated as if you were doing me a great favour. This has hurt me a lot,” KCR further said.

He said Narasimha Reddy, a son of Telangana soil, also knew the power supply situation in Telangana before the state’s creation. He is aware of the changes that has occurred afterwards. He also knows how the BRS government toiled hard to illuminate the entire state, KCR said.

The judge also knew how the IT companies came to Hyderabad, attracted by the uninterrupted supply of quality power and how it had increased productivity in agriculture said the BRS chief.

Also Read: Telugu textbooks in Telangana carry KCR’s name, state government embarrassed

Challenges in Yadadri Power Plant development

KCR said that regarding the Yadadri Power Plant, the Bhoomi pooja was conducted on 8 June, 2015, one year after the formation of Telangana state. For quite a long time, the state did not get environment clearance.

Later Covid-19 threw a spanner in the works, which led to the workers leaving the project. Yadadri was one among the projects all over the world delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Later, the National Green Tribunal had stayed the project for eight months. All these were factors that were beyond the control of the implementing agency of the project, he said.

“Even then, the BRS government had worked with commitment. We secured coal linkage. We almost completed the project. In May 2024, two boilers were switched on. Also, 70 percent of the railway linkage works were also completed ” the BRS chief noted.

“Though the project does not come under the terms of reference of the inquiry commission, yet you spoke on it saying that inordinate delay took place in its execution. It is not proper for you to lead the inquiry commission,” KCR pointed out.

Also Read: After ACB, ED to probe sheep distribution scam in Telangana, tough days ahead for BRS 

State’s ‘power’ struggles

He said that after the formation of Telangana state, there was a deficit of 2,700 MW capacity. Apart from this, Andhra Pradesh did not honour the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, which stipulated that it had to supply 1,500 MW power to Telangana.

Furthermore, the state did not receive power from gas-based power project due to non-supply of gas , amounting to about 900 MW. As the state was struggling, the BRS government decided to prioritise the power sector after toiling hard to achieve self-reliance in power, he continued.

The installed capacity of Telangana which was 7,779 MW at the time of its creation has risen to 20,000 MW now. The per capita power consumption which used to be 1,196 units in 2014 had gone up to 2,349 units in just a matter of 10 years, KCR noted.

He said that when the state sought to procure power from Chhattisgarh, the incumbent Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, who was in Telugu Desam at the time, raised objection with the Electricity Regulatory Commission (ERC).

After reviewing his objections, the ERC cleared the proposal. However, Revanth Reddy did not appeal to the Electricity Appellate Authority Tribunal or the Supreme Court, though he had the option to do so, he said.

Revanth Reddy, who came to power in the state recently, with an intention to malign the image of the BRS, had released white papers in the Assembly, KCR further alleged.

Reddy ordered a judicial probe without realising that the state cannot initiate such probes regarding verdicts issued by the electricity regulatory commissions, and subsequently appointed Narasimha Reddy to lead the inquiry committee, KCR said.

Also Read: Telangana HC directs lower court to expedite hearing of complaint against CM Revanth 

‘Narasimha Reddy’s comments objectionable, irrelevant’

KCR said it was regretful that Narasimha Reddy, who served as a High Court judge, took on the responsibility to lead the inquiry despite knowing that it was illegal to appoint an query commission based on a verdict given by the ERC.

Furthermore, KCR strongly objected to Narasimha Reddy’s “objectionable and irrelevant comments” at the news conference.

Regarding the choice of sub-critical technology for the Bhadradri Thermal Plant, he said that at the time of Telangana’s formation, sub-critical technology was widely used in the country, while super-critical technology was just emerging but expensive.

When Telangana inquired with BHEL about super-critical technology, BHEL indicated that they had sub critical equipment ready and that they could set up a 1,080 MW plant at Manuguru within two years.

They also planned to build a 800 MW seventh phase of Kothagudem plant using super-critical technology. As power was urgently needed, the state opted for sub-critical technology, he said.

KCR critisised Narasimha Reddy saying that the latter had made extreme comments without considering any of these factors,  not realizing that at the time of initiation of the project, 90 percent of power stations in India were using sub-critical technology only.

He should have known that even in the Twelfth Five Year Plan too, there were no restrictions on setting up plants using sub-critical technology, he said.

The former chief minister also defended stoutly the power purchase agreements done with Chhattisgarh and said that the state did not pay a high price. In fact, the price paid was less than what other states paid Chhattisgarh, he said.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj)

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