Wednesday, May 08, 2002
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By Our Special Correspondent
Allaying fears being entertained by some quarters, especially employees who are planning a strike over this and other issues, the Minister emphasised: "The Genco will continue in its present form and it will not be handed over to any private party.'' He said the Government gave this commitment also to the Assembly and "it will not deviate under any circumstances.''
Mr Subbarayudu was answering questions at a crowded press conference here this evening which he convened to rebut the criticisms made by the CLP leader, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, and senior Congress leader, K. Rosaiah, against the "initiatives' taken by the Government in the power sector. The Principal Secretary for Energy, V. S. Sampath, was also present.
The Minister continued the ding-dong battle over the "free power supply'', rejecting outright the demand being put forth by the Congress leader for giving this benefit to farmers in the State, saying that this was neither possible, as rightly pointed out by the AICC president, Sonia Gandhi, nor it would be desirable in the light of the need to make every consumer equal before law. But if Congress leaders were still firm on their stand, they should first implement this in the 14 States where their party was in power, especially in the neighbouring State of Karnataka.
Mr Subbarayudu said the stand taken by Ms Sonia Gandhi was repeated by Mohan Guruswamy, economist, who spoke about the "dangers and impossibilities'' of such free supply while addressing the political classes of Congress workers recently at Ongole. The Minister did not see any logic in Dr Rajasekhara Reddy and Mr Rosaiah, because they were demanding something in the State which was denied by his party for all States.
The Energy Minister, however, affirmed that the Telugu Desam Government, led by N. Chandrababu Naidu, would be as "farmer- friendly'' as was now, continuing the subsidy on the supply given to them to keep the tariff applicable to them at 31 paise per unit. The subsidy spent on the agriculture sector worked out to Rs 2,250 crores per year.
Mr Subbarayudu said power supply was better these days because of the reforms which were being implemented in right earnest. Most other States suffered on this front with even cities like Bangalore facing cuts while in Andhra Pradesh, all the 114 cities/towns were ensured of uninterrupted supply even during peak summer.
Referring to the proposed strike, the Minister said the Government stood by the Tripartite Agreement and under no circumstances, would it deviate from this document.
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