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Bathinda Thermal Plant issue: AAP leaders hold protests against govt’s move, detained

Capt govt commanding Badals’ power, land mafia in state: Harpal Cheema

Chandigarh : Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab senior leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP) Harpal Singh Cheema, along with other MLAs and party leaders, who were marching towards finance minister (FM) Manpreet Singh Badal’s office residence in protest against the state government’s move to doling out hundreds of acres of land to its loved ones through PUDA, instead of pitching for reviving the Bathinda thermal plant lying shut down due to the wrong policies of the successive governments.The AAP leaders were detained by Chandigarh police in Sector 3 police station for several hours. The others were present on te occasion were party legislators, including MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan, Meet Hayer, Jai Krishan Singh Rouri, Chairman state Political Review Committee Harchand Singh Bursat and Youth Leader Sandeep Singla.On the occasion, Harpal Singh Cheema alleged that the power and land mafia, which was earlier commanded by Sukhbir Singh Badal, was now was alleged run by Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh.Cheema and fellow party MLAs on Monday afternoon were on their way to remind Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal of his election promise on re-start of the Bathinda Thermal were detained by the Chandigarh police. The AAP leaders strongly condemned the misconduct of the police, saying that they were detained without being heard.The LoP alleged that the Bathinda Thermal Plant, which was dedicated to the state on the occasion of 500th Prakash Divas (1969) of Guru Nanak Dev, was handed over be the previous Badal government to private thermal plants under the one-sided pacts. He added that FM Manpreet Singh Badal, who had promised to re-start the Bathinda Thermal Plant, by scrapping the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with private power companies soon after assuming power in the 2017 assembly elections, had backtracked on the promise, saying the people of Bathinda area, especially the farmers whose lands were acquired in the name of ‘Baba Nanak’ for the setting up the Bathinda thermal plant would never forget and forgive them.Speaking on the occasion, Kotkapura legislator Kultar Singh Sandhwan demanded that if the government had taken the unfortunate decision of closing down the thermal plant permanently, the land be restored to the farmers from whom it was acquired in 1969 for the setting up of the thermal plant. Sandhwan called upon the farmers of the area to come forward to raise a pitch against the Capt. Amarinder Singh government, which was playing in the hands of land mafia and assured that the Aam Aadmi Party would stand by them through thick and thin.MLA Meet Hayer informed that between 2005-2014, Rs. 734 crore were spent for international up-gradation of Bathinda Thermal Plants, the last it was upgraded in 2014 at a cost worth billions of rupees, alleging it was shut down before it could run for 100 hours, while the Bathinda Thermal Plant had a term of 2030-31, according to the National Electricity Authority. Hayer said account of a whopping Rs.7,737 crore be sought from both Sukhbir Singh Badal and Manpreet Singh Badal.Jai Krishan Singh Rouri and Harchand Singh Bursat, said that while the land belonging to the Bathinda Thermal Plant was being doled out to their loved ones through PUDA, while the resolution passed by the Board of Directors of Bathinda Thermal Plant to run a 60 MW unit with straw had been hanging fire for years now. The AAP leaders claimed that if the unit was run on straw, the thermal plant workers, farmers, as also the environment, would have been benefitted in the Malwa region would also be solved.


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