Government must put on hold the privatisation of electricity distribution and stop entrusting the electricity departments of union territories to private enterprises, said AIPEF
AIPEF said that the Ministry of Power has constituted a high-level steering committee headed by the Power Secretary to guide and steer the privatisation of discoms in UTs
New Delhi: The All India Power Engineers’ Federation (AIPEF) has urged the government to put on hold the privatisation of electricity distribution entities (discoms). “Government must put on hold the privatisation of electricity distribution and stop entrusting the electricity departments of union territories to private enterprises,” Shailendra Dubey, Chairman of AIPEF, said in a recent statement. The federation mentioned that neither the draft Electricity Amendment Bill 2021 nor the standard bidding document has been finalised but the Union Territories of Chandigarh and Dadra Nagar Haveli are moving very fast towards the privatisation of their electricity departments.
SBD for privatisation of discoms not finalised yet: AIPEF
The standard bidding documents (SBD) for privatising discoms were put on the Power Ministry’s website on September 22, 2020, and were to be applied across the country. Now the Power Ministry has stated in an RTI reply that the SBDs have still not been finalised, the federation claimed. This reply puts a question mark over the entire bidding process of UTs privatisation process, it pointed out.
While in Chandigarh, the bidding was for 100 percent equity, in Dadra Nagar Haveli, it was for 51 percent. There is confusion and uncertainty in overbidding the process itself, AIPEF claimed.
Discom privatisation: AIPEF has challenged Chandigarh’s bidding process in HC
The AIPEF Chairman said that in the case of Dadra Nagar Haveli, the bids had been opened and Torrent Power had claimed to have won the bid with the highest offer of Rs 555 lakh against a reserve price of Rs 150 lakh. However, the Bombay High Court had stayed the process while hearing a PIL filed before it. In the case of UT Chandigarh, the technical bids were opened on March 18 but the opening of financial bids is awaited.
The AIPEF has challenged the bidding before the Punjab Haryana High Court and the next date of hearing is April 29, it said.
AIPEF said that the Union Ministry of Power has constituted a high-level steering committee headed by Power Secretary Alok Kumar to guide and steer the privatisation of discoms in UTs. The Home Ministry has constituted another committee headed by the Union Home Secretary as all UTs are under the administrative control of the Home Ministry.
The draft amendment bill 2021 has been circulated to select few in the month of February and the union Power Minister has held a discussion on the proposals with all the state power secretaries and CMDs of discoms and regulators, it stated.
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