"Even after the Congress returned to power in May 2013, the state government purchased power from private producers at a cost of Rs.3,191 crore to meet shortage though monsoon was above normal and reservoirs were full to generate more energy from hydel source, he said."
Bangalore, July 15 - A Karnataka legislative committee would inquire into the exorbitant expenditure incurred by the exchequer in purchasing power from private producers in the last eight years, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Tuesday.
Bowing to the demand of opposition parties for a probe after Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) lawmakers staged a protest in the assembly, Siddaramaiah said the committee would investigate the power purchase agreements (PPAs) since 2006.
The JD-S was in power for 20 months from February 2006 to October 2007, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as its coalition partner. After the 2008 legislative assembly elections, the BJP ruled the state till April 2013.
BJP lawmakers, however, insisted that the committee should probe PPAs since 1994 when the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Congress were in power for over a decade.
The chief minister will soon convene a meeting of floor leaders to discuss modalities of the committee and the tenure of the probe, Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar assured the BJP lawmakers, who resorted to a sit-in near the speaker's podium, insisting on extending the inquiry into agreements entered into 20 years ago.
Participating in the debate on budgetary grants to the energy department MOnday, former chief minister and Ramanagara lawmaker H.D. Kumaraswamy alleged that the expenditure on PPAs shot up to a whopping Rs.1,327 crore in the 2008-09 fiscal when the BJP came to power, from Rs.28.5 crore in 2007-08.
Taxpayers' money was squandered by the erstwhile BJP government by entering into reckless PPAs, which led to state-run power utilities (distribution companies) to the brink of bankruptcy with an accumulated debt of Rs.11,000 crore, Kumaraswamy said.
Seeking an inquiry by a house committee with lawmakers from all parties as its members, Kumaraswamy said the state exchequer had paid Rs.17,480 crore to private producers during the BJP rule in 2008-13 for supplying 35,426 million units of power.
Even after the Congress returned to power in May 2013, the state government purchased power from private producers at a cost of Rs.3,191 crore to meet shortage though monsoon was above normal and reservoirs were full to generate more energy from hydel source, he said.
Disagreeing with Kumarswamy, opposition leader and former BJP chief minister Jagadish Shettar said his party's government was forced to purchase power from private producers as the then UPA government denied its share of power from the central grid and coal supply to the state-run thermal power stations was drastically reduced.