Powermen urge Modi 3.0 to shun privatisationPower sector

Virendra Singh Rawat

Public sector power engineers today urged the Narendra Modi government 3.0 against the tabling of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill in Parliament.

Under the aegis of the All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF), the engineers also demanded the “failed experiment of privatisation” be withdrawn; experienced power engineers be posed in top management positions; and the “compulsion of coal import” should end.

An AIPEF delegation met union power minister Manohar Lal Khattar in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum in this regard.

The Federation demanded in view of increasing coal production, the directives to the power generation houses to import coal compulsorily should be withdrawn.

According to the Federation, in the last few years, the Centre tried to amend the Electricity Act 2003 through the Electricity (Amendment) Bill.

The main objective of the Bill was to give licenses to private houses for electricity distribution, and allow them to use the networks of public sector electricity distribution companies.

AIPEF chairman Shailendra Dubey said private sector companies would use the network of government distribution companies (discoms) to distribute power to profitable industrial and commercial consumers.

He warned it would worsen the financial condition of the government sector, which was neither in the interest of the power sector nor poor domestic consumers or farmers.

The memorandum stated that Urban Distribution Franchise (UDF) was experimented in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and some other provinces but it came a cropper, and most of the agreements were later cancelled.

Therefore, the time has come to withdraw these failed experiments of privatisation and urban distribution franchise, the AIPEF underscored.

Moreover, the memorandum mentioned that Coal India Limited (CIL) has claimed that the domestic production of coal was increasing, and that there is sufficient coal available for the thermal power plants.

In such a situation, it is not appropriate to make it mandatory to import coal for thermal power plants.

Recently, through an order, the union power ministry extended the order to import 4 percent coal till October 2024, he added.

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