Congress’ free power promise impractical: Energy Minister
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Congress’ free power promise impractical: Energy Minister

January 21, 2023

Sunil Kumar recalls former CM Siddharamaiah’s annual budget presentation with a torchlight

Mysore/Mysuru: Terming the election promise by the Congress party that if elected to power, it would provide 200 units of free power to every household as bogus, Energy Minister V. Sunil Kumar said that all the electricity supply companies (ESCOMs) in Karnataka suffer severe losses.

 The Minister was speaking after launching various development works costing Rs. 116.77 crore in five districts coming under the jurisdiction of Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) at Maharaja College Grounds in the city on Friday.

 “These are all hollow promises as the Congress is desperate to grab power in Karnataka. The free power scheme will amount to Rs. 7,000 crore – Rs. 7,500 crore annually as there are nearly 1.8 crore domestic connections of which around 65 percent consume less than 200 units per month,” Sunil Kumar reasoned.

 ESCOMs making profits

 The BJP Government already provides 38 percent of power consumption free to farmers and another 10-15 percent to the economically weaker sections under the Bhagya Jyothi and Kuteer Jyothi schemes. “The ESCOMs in Karnataka are now making profits after the BJP Government came to power. We are not privatising ESCOMs and not launching any projects that push them towards privatisation. Instead, we are strengthening the ESCOMs and this reformation has yielded profits,” the Minister claimed.

 “The previous Congress Government led by Siddharamaiah put ESCOMs in difficulty by availing loans to the tune of Rs. 33,000 crore. The Congress has pushed ESCOMs into a financial crisis and the party’s present promise of free 200 units of power is impractical. The Government owes Rs. 33,000 crore to five ESCOMs, thanks to the mismanagement of the previous Congress regime and providing free power will only increase their dues and would destabilise their functioning,” Sunil Kumar said. 

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Siddharamaiah’s torchlight budget

 People of Karnataka are not asking for free power but quality and uninterrupted power supply. “We have seen what happened in Delhi and Punjab where free power was promised.  The Congress has come up with the promise on realising that it would not be able to win the coming Assembly elections. It has resorted to its patented freebies culture,” he added.

 “The Siddharamaiah Government pushed ESCOMs towards bankruptcy. You might have forgotten about having read the budget in darkness and how you struggled reading the papers with a torchlight as there was a power crisis due to your mismanagement. This is proof of how the Energy Department functioned during your tenure. Siddharamaiah was forced to use a torchlight to read out the annual budget, till power came back,” Sunil Kumar recalled.

 ESCOMs will shut down

 MP Pratap Simha too took a dig at the Congress’ poll promise and said the ESCOMs have to be shut down if free power poll promise was implemented. “There will be no money left with ESCOMs to pay for the salaries of the staff if power was supplied for free,” he said.

 “I urge the Energy Department to spread awareness on this issue and educate the people not to trust such promises or statements. People should not fall for the free power promises,” Simha added. The MP suggested establishing more electric vehicle charging stations on the Mysuru-Bengaluru Expressway.

 Chamaraja MLA L. Nagendra presided over the event. Chamundeshwari MLA G.T. Devegowda, Mayor Shivakumar, CESC Managing Director Jayavibhavaswamy, Chairman of Boards and Corporations, CESC officials and engineers were present.

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