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Bihar wants white paper from Centre on power shortage
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | January 21, 2008 11:51 IST
Faced with acute power shortage that sparked widespread protests and violence in which four people were killed in police firing, Bihar's Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav demanded that the Centre issue a white paper on the state's power crisis.
Bijendra Prasad again blamed the Cente for the ongoing power crisis in Bihar and alleged that Centre was creating an artificial power scarcity in the state.
"Let people know the facts relating to Bihar's energy quota, demand and supply by making it public," Bijendra Prasad said asking the Ministry of Power, New Delhi to come out with a white paper on the power crisis in the state.
He also challenged MoP to clarify to the people the reasons for the present power crisis in the state.
Bijendra Prasad told rediff.com that Bihar was getting only 600 to 700 MW daily against the average daily quota of 1170 MW from the Central pool.
"Bihar is actually getting nearly half of its daily quota of power from the Central pool. The gap of demand and supply is huge and is causing the power crisis. The Centre is solely respoinsible for it " Bijendra Prasad said on Monday.
According to him, if Bihar is getting 700 MW, the state had to fulfill its committment of 75 MW each to the railways and Nepal, which left Bihar with hardly 550 MW for the entire state.
"How can we manage it when the demand is for 1600 to 1800 MW daily," Bijendra Prasad asked.
Earlier, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also blamed the Centre for the power crisis. "It is the Centre responsible for the power crisis as instead of increasing the allocated quota, they have has reduced it," Nitish Kumar said in reference to the state government's repeated request to the Centre to provide adequate power in the state.
Acute power shortages have sparked protests in many parts of the state. The government was worried over the killing of four people in police firing in Kahalgaon town in Bhagalpur district during a protest. Opposition parties have called for a Bihar bandh on January 25.
Tension still runs high in Kahalgaon town for the fourth consecutive day. Heavy security forces have been deployed to control the situation in view of Sunday's incident when a group of angry people set ablaze a vehicle of the Central Indian Security Force and took hostage five CISF jawans in Kahalgaon . They were later rescued by the intervention made by camping ADG Abhyanand and Bhagalpur Commissioner H C Sirohi.
Opposition parties led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress, Left Parties and Nationalist Congress Party have decided to intensify their protest.
Congress leader Premchand Mishra said the Nitish Kumar government is killing people for demanding adequate power supply.
"We will stage a protest on January 23 at all the district headquarters followed by a torchlight protest on January 24 and Bihar bandh on January 25 to expose the Nitish Kumar government's highhandedness against the people" Mishra said.
Sensing more trouble, the state government has ordered a judicial probe into the killings. Nitish Kumar told newspersons on Sunday that he would request Patna high court for a sitting judge to probe the incident and assured that the government will take stern action against guilty officials.
RJD supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav described the judicial probe order as an eyewash by the state government as nothing would come out of it.
"First of all, the state government should lodge criminal cases against the police officials responsaible for the firing. Only thereafter should a judicial probe be ordered," Lalu Prasad said.
The state government has announced compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the families of the victims and has transferred four officials, including the officer in charge of the Kahalgaon police station, the deputy superintendent and SDO.
Hundreds had gathered outside the National Thermal Power [Get Quote] Corp plant in Kahalgaon on Friday to protest the acute power shortage when the police opened fire on the crowd, killing three people.
Hundreds of people once again took to the streets on Saturday to protest Friday's killings. The angry mob set ablaze a vehicle, blocked roads and pelted stones at policemen deployed in the town to control the situation. The police opened fire in retaliation, killing one person, while another was seriously injured.
Faced with a severe power crisis and violent protests, Bijendra Prasad sent a strongly worded letter to the Central government alleging discrimination against the states not ruled by the United Progressive Alliance.