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Munda cries foul over DVC ‘sell-out’

Ranchi, April 23: Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Arjun Munda today urged chief election commissioner V.S. Sampath to intervene and stop Damodar Valley Corporation from handing over assets to the West Bengal government and its power utility.

Munda argued that DVC could not go ahead with such a move at a time when parliamentary elections were on and the model code of conduct was in force.

At a board meeting held in Calcutta on April 21, DVC top brass discussed the proposal to hand over high tension transmission and distribution systems in Bengal along with its existing consumers to West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited.

The DVC, the former chief minister said, was also keen on handing over ownership of Durgapur barrage and the entire irrigation system thereof to the Bengal government.

“How can an officiating chairman take such major policy decisions without seeking the consent of other stake-holders,” Munda asked, referring to DVC chairman Arup Roychoudhury, who is also CMD of National Thermal Power Corporation that is keen on setting up a 1,320 MW thermal power plant in Katwa.

“Further, the timing of the decision smacks of ulterior motives. I have also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee. Jharkhand chief secretary has also been asked to take necessary action,” Munda said at a news conference.

The DVC was formed by an act passed by Parliament in 1948. Its ownership is shared proportionately by the Centre, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Munda argued that the main objective behind forming DVC was to foster integrated growth of its command areas and achieve excellence in multifaceted activities like flood control, irrigation, power generation and distribution, et al.

DVC was also responsible for taking care of socio-economic conditions of people living within a radius of 10 km, providing healthcare and education facilities, promoting fisheries, tourism and environmental conservation.

“Its assets, therefore, cannot be segregated on the basis of geographical presence. If done, it would go against the very purpose of DVC’s formation. I am told the present state government of Jharkhand is indifferent towards the issue to benefit one of its ministers,” Munda alleged.

Earlier on April 16, All India Power Engineers Federation chief patron Padmajit Singh had written letters to the President and Prime Minister, requesting them to intervene in the hand over of DVC assets.

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