With the Punjab government completing one year of providing 300 units of electricity per month free to each household, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Sunday said this has not been made possible by taking loans but by checking pilferages and corruption.
In a statement, the CM said the state government had on 1 July last year launched the guarantee to provide free power to the people. He said since then 90 per cent of the households in the state are getting free power and have got zero power bill since July 2022.
Mann said it is a matter of immense pride and satisfaction that along with domestic consumers, the food growers of the country are also getting free and uninterrupted power in the state.
The CM said farmers are getting more than eight hours of power supply without any cut. He said the state government has paid a subsidy worth Rs 20,200 Crore to the state-run power distribution company, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for the free power supply.
Mann said that this has not been made possible by taking loans, as done by previous governments, but by checking pilferages and corruption. He said due to concerted efforts of the state government supply of coal from Pachwara coal mine that was stopped has been resumed after 2015.
Mann said that earlier governments had stalled supply from this coal mine to mint money illegally from the private thermal plants. He said for the first time in the history of the state, Punjab has a coal stock of 43 days whereas the earlier threat of blackout loomed large in the state during earlier regimes.
The CM said across the country, governments were selling government properties to fetch money but the Punjab government has started a reverse trend by purchasing a private thermal plant. He said industry is being provided uninterrupted power even during the ongoing paddy season.
The CM said the state government is making concerted efforts for making Punjab a power surplus state adding that focus is now being laid to promote green, solar and hydro power in the state.
He also announced that the state government is setting up a 206 Mega Watt (MW) hydro power project in Pathankot on Ravi river to check the pilferage of water. Bhagwant Mann said this water will be used judiciously for irrigating the fields of the state besides generating power.
The CM said that thanks to the efforts of the state government canal water has reached the tail end in villages which has reduced burden on tube wells, thereby considerably saving power and ground water.