KCR threatens nationwide protest if Central government keeps Electricity Act changes

Chandrashekar Rao also accused the Central government of asking him to sell the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC).

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Sep 12, 2022 | 4:33 PMUpdatedSep 12, 2022 | 4:35 PM

KCR Roars

Tearing into the BJP dispensation at the Centre for the amendments it had proposed to the Central Electricity Act of 2003, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Monday, 12 September, demanded that the Central government withdraw them unconditionally or be prepared for a nationwide agitation.

During a debate on the Central Electricity Act in the Telangana Assembly, he also called upon the nearly 20 lakh employees in the power sector in the country to get ready for agitation to bury the BJP for good.

KCR also warned the employees of power utilities that they would all be thrown out if the Central government was allowed to go ahead with its destructive policies in the guise of ushering in reforms.

“It has already happened with several PSUs, and now the farm and power sectors are on the chopping block,” he said.

Replying during the aforementioned debate, the chief minister hauled the Central government over coals for playing with the lives of the farmers with an ulterior motive to benefit corporates.

He said the amendments and the gazette notification he was in possession of stated clearly that unless a smart prepaid meter was fixed, no new power connections should be released to all sectors, and that all the farm wells that already have power connections should mandatorily have meters.

He said that a resolution demanding the withdrawal of the amendments to the Act would be moved as soon as the House meets.

Another resolution, he said, urging on Tuesday the Union government to name the Central Vista in Delhi after BR Ambedkar would also be moved.

‘Sell TSRTC’

In a stunning accusation, KCR said in the Assembly that the Central government had written to him to take steps to sell the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC).

“I have received a communication from the Centre asking me to sell the road transport corporation. It has even offered an incentive of ₹1,000 crore,” he said, deriding the centre for its policy of disinvestment.

During his reply to a debate on the Central Electricity Act, the chief minister said that Central government haD privatised several public-sector undertakings (PSUs), for which it used the euphemism “reforms”.

In this guise, it was resorting to selling public institutions that had been built over decades, the chief minister said,

The Act on the crosshairs

Chandrasekhar Rao said that there was a sinister motive behind the amendments, as the Central government wanted to make agriculture unremunerative and thus force the farmers to hand over their land to corporates, so they could hire the ryots as workers on their own lands and continue their looting spree.

He wanted to know that if the Centre government was really farmer-friendly, why was it dragging its feet on supplying of free electricity to farmers?

At the national level, it would cost the Union government about ₹1.45 lakh crore, which KCR said was a pittance compared to the ₹12 lakh crore of NPAs that private-sector banks are saddled with after their borrowers turned defaulters.

“The infusion of funds into PSU banks to help them write off NPAs is not a stimulus. The subsidy that you give to farmers in the form of free power supply is,” he said.

‘BJP destroying the farm sector’

KCR also said he said he was prepared to resign at one stage if the BJP could prove what he was saying with respect to the power sector was wrong.

He said that was impossible because he was quoting numbers from the documents of the Central Electricity Authority.

Though the country is endowed with enormous resources, dim-witted dwarfs in the BJP were unable to make use of them and instead were trying to torment farmers and the poor, he said.

Reeling off statistics from a Central Electricity Authority document, he said though the installed capacity of the entire nation was more than 4.4 lakh MW, the country had not made use of more than 2.1 lakh MW, recorded on 22 June, as against a full peak load capacity of 2.42 lakh MW, leave alone total capacity.

If the rulers put their brains to work, they could enhance the capacity by 1.6 lakh MW, he said.

The chief minister described as unilateral the threats being made to the state by the Central government for not implementing power sector “reforms”.

He referred to the raising of the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) ceiling by 0.5 percent if the state accepted fitting meters to farm wells, which it didn’t.

The state thus forewent the eligibility to raise ₹25,000 crore in loans at the rate of ₹5,000 crore per year, he said.

He also asked the Union government why it had asked the Rural Electrification Cororation and the Power Finance Corporation to insist on clearance from the Central government for extending the remaining portion of loans already agreed upon, and also including them in the calculation of the state’s borrowings to fix its limit under FRBM, which he said was very discriminatory.

In the very first Cabinet meeting of the BJP government, the Centre transferred the Sileru Project to Andhra Pradesh, along with seven mandals in the Bhadrachalam district, even though KCR had called a state bandh to protest the injustice being done.

Going by what the then Andhra Pradesh chief minister told him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had harmed Telangana’s interests, he said. “The prime minister acted as though he was AP chief minister’s puppet,” he said.

Push for national party

KCR also took a serious exception to the broadside that he was too small in stature to start a national party, and shot back at the BJP: “If not I, then who is eligible to start a national party? You? In fact, I am more eligible than you as I have the national perspective.”

He added: “The BJP’s rule is not permanent. It’s only a matter of 17-18 months before we send the BJP packing.”

The TRS chief also hit out at the saffron party for its politics of destabilising state governments.

“It has already pulled down 11 governments in the country and destroyed statutory institutions. Now it is saying that it will bring down our government. The BJP has just three MLAs who stick out like three short appendages, and they keep on raving and ranting,” he said.