Such unilateral measures strike at the root of the federal structure, says West Bengal Chief Minister
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi protesting against the Centre’s move on the Electricity (Amendment) Bill and urged him to refrain from proceeding with the legislation.
“I write this letter to re-lodge my protest against the Union government’s fresh move to place the much-criticised Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 in Parliament. It was proposed to be moved last year, but many of us had underlined the anti-people aspects of the draft legislation, and at least I had detailed out all the salient pitfalls of the Bill in a letter to you on June 12, 2020,” she wrote in the letter.
In the two-page communication, she said “power is too important a sector for such unilateral inferences, especially when electricity is a subject in the Concurrent List” and requested the Prime Minister “to ensure that a broad-based and transparent dialogue is opened up at the earliest”.
Ms. Banerjee said the Bill aims at making the State electricity grid an appendage of the national grid.
“I am dismayed also by the centrist designs to make the entire State electricity grid [right from the local substation] an appendage of the National Grid. The Electricity Act of 2003 had struck a fine balance between the Centre and the States in the management of power sector, while the proposed Amendment strikes at the root of the federal structure,” the letter states.
She said dilution of the role of the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions and the State Distribution Companies implies a political design to demolish them and domestic industries. She said while the avowed objectives of the Bill are to provide choices to consumers, they will end up in profiteering by the new service providers through enhancements in tariffs.
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