Wednesday, Mar 27, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
The Opposition pleaded that the extra sum of Rs 183 crores would more than meet the fresh additional burden of tariff and consumption charges put at Rs 176 crores. With no response coming forth from the Chief Minister, members belonging to the Congress, CPI (M), CPI (M) New Democracy and MIM moved to the podium and staged a dharna on the steps abutting the chair. They raised slogans like "we demand rollback'' while two Congress members held aloft a banner leading to the adjournment of the House for the day by an exasperated Deputy Speaker, K. Harishwar Reddy.
The Chief Minister took the "principled'' stand that the Government should not and would not tamper with the order issued by the Regulatory Commission as it would amount to interference with the reforms which were made a "must'' by lending institutions, including the Power Finance Corporation, and without which there would not have been efficiency. He appealed to the MLAs to understand the reforms in the right perspective and cooperate. He reminded the Leader of the House, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, of the commitment made by his party to reforms in its 1998 election manifesto and of the changes taking places in Karnataka and Orissa, and the CPI (M) members of the strides made in West Bengal and said they should not treat Andhra Pradesh in isolation, and say "no'' to changes here.
The Chief Minister also rejected Dr Reddy's suggestion to hand over the Transco to the Congress for one year for better performance with the plea that the Telugu Desam was voted to do this only. He said in Pulivenduala constituency, represented by Dr. Reddy, the transmission and distribution losses remained at 40.24 per cent and this was in spite of the Constituency level advisory committee headed by Dr Reddy himself which was supposed to bring down this loss. When he could not justice in his own area, Dr Reddy could do litlle for the entire State, the Chief Minister contended.
The reply landed in trouble for a second time when the Chief Minister holding "politicians'' responsible for the increased T&D losses which, if cut, would have ensured better income to the Transco, avoiding the present tariff hike.
He read out the increases in T&D losses in each Assembly constituency and against each MLA, starting with Chandrayangutta in Hyderabad where the loss had gone up to 56.33 per cent by last month, compared to 41.84 per cent in 1996, implying "theft''. To this, the MIM chief, Asaduddin Owaisi, strongly objected, saying that the Chief Minister dubbed all those living in the Old City as "thieves''. However, the Chief Minister clarified that this was not his intention.
The Chief Minister also announced that the State would be "surplus'' in power shortly and it was their plan to sell power worth Rs 134 crores to other States during the year. Looking at the lanterns held by the Congress members, he asked them not to take Andhra Pradesh into darkness.
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