EPS questions DMK govt. over power cuts, liquor shops

‘Pending maintenance of infrastructure being taken up’

AIADMK leader Edappadi K. Palaniswami questioned the ruling DMK in the Assembly over the frequent power cuts and the reopening of State-run liquor shops even when the State was hit by COVID-19.

Referring to the power cuts in various parts of the State, Mr. Palaniswami said there was a difference between planned and announced power cuts and otherwise. He also questioned why the State government was purchasing power from private players at a higher rate.

Responding to the issues raised, Electricity Minister V. Senthilbalaji said that the erstwhile AIADMK government had not undertaken the maintenance of electric infrastructure for several months and under the instruction of the Chief Minister, maintenance was being undertaken now.

The State had more power and it had provided about 700 MW of power to Punjab, which needed it. “When we would be in demand, it would give us back,” he said. “The power cuts are only due to the maintenance works being undertaken by the government,” Mr. Balaji contended.

As for purchasing power at higher rates, Mr. Balaji pointed out that the AIADMK government had signed agreements to purchase power on long-term contracts, but the DMK was choosing only short-term ones.

Mr. Balaji also pointed out an instance during the AIADMK regime when a tender was floated for 1,000 MW, but while awarding the contract it was increased to 3,330 MW. Former Electricity Minister during the erstwhile AIADMK government P. Thangmani sought to speak over the issue but the Chair asked whether the members of the Opposition party knew more than Mr. Palaniswami, who was the former Chief Minister.

When the Speaker allowed former Electricity Minister Natham R. Viswanathan, he made certain personal remarks against Mr. Balaji, which had to be expunged eventually. Mr. Balaji said the previous AIADMK government mismanaged finances so much that the DMK government had decided to undertake a study of the finances of Tangedco and Tantransco.

To Mr. Palaniswami’s question to the DMK over the reopening of Tasmac shops, Mr. Balaji said they were reopened only in 27 districts, where the spread of COVID-19 was under control. “In the remaining 11 districts, the shops are not open,” he said.

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