The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today appreciated the Congress government for deciding to take the same line on power export to Pakistan as done by the SAD-BJP government besides hard selling the good work done in the power sector during SAD-BJP rule to attract investment into the State.
In a statement here senior SAD leaders and MPs Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Balwinder Singh Bhundur said the Congress should however know that the decision to export power to Pakistan had been taken by the SAD-BJP government which had already approached the centre for the same. "As such there is no need for the new State government to approach the centre afresh on this issue as is being asserted by the government. All it needs to do is renew talks held on this issue with the centre and take them forward to a logical conclusion", the Akali leaders said.
Explaining the ground work which had already been done, the Akali MPs said former Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal initiated the exercise to export power to Pakistan during a meeting with Pak Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharief in 2012. The MPs said following this the Pakistan cabinet approved a proposal to purchase power from India in 2014. "Following this talks have taken place between the power ministries of both countries. Recent unwanted incidents at the border including the Pathankot terror strike have put a spanner in the works. However talks as well as power export to Pak from Amritsar as decided in the preliminary talks could be started as part of confidence building measures between both countries".
Dhindsa and Bhundur said Punjab had reached a stage from being a power strapped State in 2007 to being power surplus now due to the efforts made by Sukhbir Badal in this regard. The leaders said not only were thermal plants set up in record time but even the transmission and distribution system had been strengthened at a cost of Rs 3,900 crore. "Punjab is the first State to have a 400 KV ring main station with GIS mapping of all 132 KV and 220 KV sub stations", they added.
The leaders said it were these steps which had made Punjab a successful investment destination and attracted massive investment from top industrial houses in the country. "The State was even able to transfer the benefits of bringing efficiencies into the system by offering power at Rs five a unit to new industries. It is appreciable that the new government is trying to capitalise on these efforts and has during a recent interaction with industrialists in Mumbai highlighted the cheap and reliable power on offer in Punjab. More such efforts should be made to continue the development narrative initiated by the previous SAD-BJP government", the leaders added.