Fines waived to help big firms, alleges Bihar opposition

May 5th, 2011 - 1:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, May 5 (IANS) The Bihar opposition Thursday demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the waiver of huge fines slapped against 52 firms for power theft that caused losses of Rs.4,000 crore to the state exchequer.

“I have demanded a CBI probe into it in my letter to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,” said Leader of Opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui.

Siddiqui told IANS that some powerful people in the state government brought in a voluntary disclosure scheme to help big firms wriggle out of paying huge fines for power theft.

“It is a serious matter and should be probed by the CBI to expose the faces behind the losses of thousands of crores of rupees to the state,” he said. “It appears the state government is not bothered,” he said.

“The loss amount of Rs.4,000 crore could have helped in overhauling the power scenario in the state. Nitish Kumar must explain it to millions of people, who are forced to live in the lantern age,” he said

In reference to people’s protests against an acute power shortage in different parts of the state, Siddiqui said the Nitish Kumar government has totally failed to improve the power situation.

“Nitish Kumar is doing politics by blaming the centre for poor allocation of power, instead of taking some measures, including spot power purchasing to improve the situation,” he said.

He said the state government was insensitive to the woes of people, particularly in rural areas, where electricity is not available for even an hour.

“At a time when the entire state is reeling under power shortage, two districts - Nalanda, the home district of Nitish Kumar, and Supaul, the home district of Energy Minister Bijendra Yadav - are getting adequate power,” he said.

Siddiqui said most of the districts have witnessed protests against power shortage and some remain without power for days, but Nalanda and Supaul are getting 22- to 24-hour power supply.

In the last few days, protests have been seen in many parts of the state, including the districts of Munger, Saharsa, Madhepura, Shekhpura, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Gaya and Patna. With the mercury soaring and drinking water scarcity reported from across the state, the shortage of electricity has added to people’s woes.

The internationally renowned Buddhist pilgrim centre of Gaya gets electricity supply for only four to five hours a day.

While Bihar has a daily requirement of 2,200-2,500 MW, it generates hardly 45-50 MW of power. The central government supplies around 750 to 900 MW. The state is facing a power deficit of about 1,000-1,200 MW a day, officials said.

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