Punjab wants to sell power to Pakistan, Opposition says fulfil domestic needs first

Captain Amarinder Singh, who met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, informed him that the state had 1000 MW surplus power which it wanted to sell to generate additional revenue besides saving the state residents from additional tax burden.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow the state to sell surplus power to neighbouring Nepal and Pakistan.

Captain, who met the Prime Minister in New Delhi, informed him that the state had 1000 MW surplus power which it wanted to sell to generate additional revenue besides saving the state residents from additional tax burden.

Though it is not known what exactly would be the response of PMO, as it will be a policy decision, but citing short supply of power to the agriculture sector, opposition Aam Aadmi Party has advised the government to first fulfill the domestic requirements and then power the neighbouring country.

Welcoming the move, AAP chief whip Sukhpal Singh Khaira said if the proposal materialises, it may result in revenue generation, but the government should give priority to agriculture sector which lacks adequate power supply.

RATIONALISE POWER TARIFF

It is worth mentioning here that despite the claims made by the government, power is costlier in Punjab as compared to the neighbouring Haryana and Himachal. Power cuts are a reality in many areas including towns located close to Chandigarh like Naya Gaon. Though the state government has decided to rationalise power tariff, it is yet to become a reality.

"The power is not available to the state farmers for eight hours as claimed by the government. The government before selling power to the neighbouring countries should first fulfill the domestic requirement, agriculture sector in particular. I am surprised why the Chief Minister is soft to a hostile country like Pakistan and not even keen to meet the defence minister of Canada," Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.

It is worth mentioning here that state's Goindwal Sahib thermal power plant is located close to the international border and supplying power from this plant to Pakistan will be convenient. Both Nepal and Pakistan has shortfall of power.

CAPTAIN'S DREAM TO SELL POWER TO PAKISTAN MAY HIT ROADBLOCK

It is not the first time that the Punjab government has mooted the plan to sell surplus power to Pakistan. The then Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal during his visit to Punjab province of Pakistan in 2012 had sent similar proposal, but it did not materialise due to two reasons. One the policy to sell power to Pakistan did not exit, and second the relationship between the two countries was strained.

We do not enjoy good relations with Pakistan even today as it is not only indulging in cross border firing and infiltrations, but also other anti-India and anti-Punjab activities by sheltering Khalistan terror groups. Two major terror incidents one each in Pathankot and Dina Nagar in July 2015 and January 2016 were masterminded by none other than Pakistan based militant groups.

Kulbhushan Jadhav hanging case has also further damaged the relations. At a time when the country's polity is voicing its concern against human rights violations in Pakistan, powering the rogue country will only earn criticism.

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