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UDF blames Left govt for power crisis, financial crunch of Electricity Board in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 13 (PTI) The Kerala Assembly on Tuesday witnessed a war of words between the ruling Left Front and Opposition UDF over the power crisis being faced by the state and the unprecedented financial crunch suffered by the Kerala Electricity Board.

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Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, V D Satheesan, alleged that the Left government's cancellation of a long-term contract signed by the previous UDF regime to buy electricity from outside at a nominal rate of Rs 4.29 per unit has now pushed the Board into an acute financial crisis.

While speaking during the question hour, the LoP pointed out that the Electricity Board has been going through the gravest financial crisis in its history and there are several reasons for the situation.

The previous UDF regime had signed the contract for 25 years and the Vijayan government also continued to purchase power under the agreement. "But, nearly 7-8 months ago, the contract was cancelled by them alleging corruption in it. As a result, the Board has been buying power at a huge rate of Rs 8-9, incurring a loss of Rs 10 crore per day," Satheesan alleged.

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He further charged that the Electricity Board was profitable under the UDF regime, but it had plunged into financial crisis through various projects, including the transgrid project and the rooftop solar scheme after the first Pinarayi Vijayan government came to power.

The Board has now incurred a financial burden to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore in the last seven to eight years, the Congress leader charged.

However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected the charges and said that the cancellation of the 25-year-long contract was not the voluntary decision of his government, but it was as per the direction of the Electricity Regulatory Commission.

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He said considering the power demands of the state, his government had continued the long-term contract signed by the Congress-headed UDF government but the Regulatory Commission directed to cancel it saying that its permission was not sought for the same.

"After the cancellation of the contract, issues like what the LoP mentioned here, has cropped up. Because, power was available only at a higher price rate," the chief minister admitted.

Vijayan also said his government has now used its special privileges to intervene in the matter and resolve the issues.

Only some technical issues are left and steps have been taken to address the cancellation of the contract, he further said, adding that even the Regulatory Commission also accepted the government's stand in this regard.

State Power Minister K Krishnankutty said it was not the state government but the Regulatory Commission which had directed them to cancel the contract, saying that rules were not followed in its signing. PTI LGK KH

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