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Power pact a must, says Munda

Ranchi, Dec. 6: Arjun Munda today said his government was compelled to reduce the financial burden on the public exchequer and lease out distribution of power in Ranchi and Jamshedpur, even as Opposition parties smarted over the failure of the decision-makers to discuss the move beforehand in the Assembly.

The state government signed the agreements yesterday with Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) and Tata Power.

Replying to a question by JVM’s Pradeep Yadav on the concluding day of the winter session in the Assembly today, the chief minister said the state incurred losses between Rs 12 crore and Rs 14 crore per month against power supply in Ranchi alone.

He stressed the decision to unbundle Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) was taken well in advance and that the MoU to lease out power distribution in the two major cities was a step forward in this direction.

“If the experiment is successful, it will be gradually extended to other parts of the state,” Munda said.

He, however, remained evasive on why the issue was not discussed in the Assembly when the House was in session. Munda also turned down the demand of the Opposition to suspend the implementation of the agreements and first pass a bill in the Assembly.

“We will have to take more tough decisions in the coming days, as the demand for power supply would increase with electrification of villages and growth of industries,” the chief minister argued.

Munda also confirmed that the government would release pending local area development funds of the MLAs for this fiscal within 15 to 20 days.

Munda said the finance department was told to get in touch with the deputy commissioners and complete necessary formalities in this regard.