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Mamata writes protest letter to PM Modi requesting him to desist from placing Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 in Parliament

" It was proposed to be moved last year, but many of us had underlined the anti-people aspects of the draft legislation, and at least I had detailed out all the salient pitfalls of the Bill in a letter to you on 12 June, 2020," the Chief Minister in a letter to the PM said Saturday.

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Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday re-lodged her protest to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the Union government’s proposed move to place afresh the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 in Parliament, and requested him to refrain from the initiation of the legislation and ensure that a broad-based and transparent dialogue on the subject is opened up at the earliest.

” It was proposed to be moved last year, but many of us had underlined the anti-people aspects of the draft legislation, and at least I had detailed out all the salient pitfalls of the Bill in a letter to you on 12 June, 2020,” the Chief Minister in a letter to the PM said Saturday.

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” The Bill was then not moved, and I had believed that wider consultations with stakeholders would now be initiated for a consensual view on the sensitive subject at hand. Now, I am stunned to her that the Bill is coming back without any consideration for our reservations, and in fact with some grader anti-people feature this time”.

” Prior consultation with the states. In the present case, there has been some tokenism of consultations, but no real exchange of views, which is antithetical to the federal structure of our polity,” Banerjee maintained.

” The avowed objective of the Bill is to provide plural choices to the consumers, even while actually the Bill ends up in profiteering by the new service providers through enhancements in tariffs and every sector of the society will suffer due to increased tariff”.

“I am also dismayed by the centrist design to make the entire state electricity grid (right from the local substation) an appendage of the national grid. The Electricity Act 2003 had struck a fine balance between the Centre and States in the management of the power sector, while the proposed amendment strikes at the roots of the federal architecture.”

” Power is too important a sector for such unilateral interferences, especially when electricity, as a subject is in the concurrent list of the constitution of India and any legislation on a subject in such a list, needs serious prior consultation with the states. In the present case, there has been some tokenism of consultations but no real exchange of views, which is antithetical to the federation structure of our polity,” the Chief Minister added.

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