Guwahati, June 16: The opposition Congress on Wednesday said adopting the Gujarat model by the Assam government in the power sector will "totally destroy" the state-run companies and people will have to bear huge costs due to privatisation.
Addressing a press conference here, Assam Congress President Ripun Bora said the Gujarat model is "outdated and totally faulted". "The Assam government is now looking at that state. Gujarat and Assam are completely different as we do not have any big industry here. The government has a minority stake in power companies in Gujarat, while the Assam government owns the power distribution firms," Bora said.
Adopting the Gujarat model will "totally destroy" power companies in Assam and the public will also bear the brunt of privatisation, the Rajya Sabha MP said. The power sector in Assam has been divided into three government-controlled companies - Assam Power Generation Corp Ltd (APGCL), Assam Electricity Grid Corp Ltd (AEGCL), and Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL).
On Tuesday, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the Assam government will try to replicate the Gujarat model in the power sector along with its state-of-the-art technological interventions to turn three power companies into profitable ventures.
"Sarma was the Finance Minister in the last five years and he was presenting the Budget every year. Was he not aware of this earlier? Why did he not mention the poor financial condition of the sector and continued to announce schemes? Bora asked. He also criticised the BJP-led government for allegedly making a "U-turn" in its poll promise of giving 30 units of free power to all the people of Assam. The state Congress president also slammed the government for imposing a set of conditions in waiving loans of microfinance institutions taken by women as per BJP's poll promises.
Within a month after forming the government for the second term in Assam, the BJP made U-turns on the promises made ahead of the assembly elections. Very few women will benefit from the conditions that have been imposed for waiving the loan," he said. Irrigation Minister Ashok Singhal, who heads a government committee, had said that action will be taken against the lenders who have flouted norms within the legal framework as most of the women who had taken loans are not educated and are not aware of the terms and conditions.
He said that discussions are going on the relief provisions and only those loans will be considered which were taken before December 31, 2020. Singhal had said those with a family income of Rs one lakh, paying income tax, owning four-wheelers or any other such guidelines set by the RBI will not be considered for the waiver of loans.
On raising the wages of tea garden workers, Bora said the BJP government has been betraying the community since 2016. "The saffron party had promised to raise their wages since 2016 but did not do so. "The Congress had promised to raise the wages to Rs 365 from Rs 167, but people somehow did not accept this and voted for the BJP.
Now BJP has hiked it by only Rs 38. So, going by the promise given by the Congress a worker is losing Rs 57,600 annually and Rs 2.88 lakh in five years," he added.