Chandigarh, Jan 10, 2020-
Hundreds of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activists led by party MP Bhagwant Mann were on Friday stopped from heading towards Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s official residence here by the police who used water cannons to disperse them.
The AAP activists were protesting against the Congress government’s recent decision to hike electricity rates by 2.14 per cent.
The protesters, including Punjab AAP unit chief Mann and party legislators Harpal Singh Cheema, Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Baljinder Kaur, were adamant to meet the Chief Minister to submit a memorandum against the hike.
Chandigarh Police had already barricaded the road leading to the Chief Minister’s residence by deploying a huge force.
When the protesters started marching towards the CM’s residence, they were stopped by the police.
The police resorted to the use of water cannons as protesters holding placards were trying to cross the barricades. They were lathi charged the protesters to disperse them. A majority of party leaders, including Mann, were taken into preventive custody.
Mann said that consumers in the state were forced to pay between Rs 9 and Rs 12 a unit for domestic power, which was much higher compared to other states.
“Punjab is producing its own electricity but selling it to the consumers at an expensive rate, while the Kejriwal government in Delhi, which is not producing even a single unit of power on its own, is providing the cheapest electricity to the people there,” Mann said.
The AAP had submitted memorandums to the government seeking scrapping of power purchase agreements signed with private thermal plants by the previous SAD-BJP government in the state.
On Wednesday, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had dared the Chief Minister to cancel the power purchase agreements (PPAs) with private plants.
“Punjab and the interests of Punjabis are paramount to SAD. In case there is anything wrong in the PPAs, they should be cancelled. In fact, it’s strange why this was not done since three years,” Sukhbir had told the media here.
“The entire PPA and how it was drafted under the leadership of Manmohan Singh should be probed,” he had said.
Sukhbir Badal had also demanded an independent probe into the Rs 1,400 crore undue benefit given to private thermal plant managements. (Agency)