1942 hours

DR. T. SUBBARAMI REDDY (VISAKHAPATNAM): Mr. Chairman Sir, now the biggest football match is going on. Some Members are opposing it and some Members are for passing it. (Interruptions). I find that there is a lack of communication. The philosophy of the Bill is to regulate the electricity generation, transmission and distribution. We all appreciate it, but, at the same time, there are a number of loopholes and defects. A number of hon. Members are very much afraid and concerned that this Bill might come in the way of giving subsidy to the farmers because everybody is interested in the farmers' and poor men's welfare activities.

Now, the Ruling Party is going to pass the Bill because they are in a majority. All our friends have gone for tea and coffee and they are not present here. (Interruptions). Our hon. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Madan Lal Khurana is a very clever man. (Interruptions).

I would like to say that 17,000 mws of power was the only increase in the Eighth Plan. As far as the Ninth Plan is concerned, already one year is over and the Government is proposing 40,000 mws of power generation. Perhaps, it may be very difficult. The entire country is reeling under the shortage of power. The prosperity and progress of the country depends on the power generation. So, I would like to say that all the 545 Members must stand for power production.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Dr. Reddy, you are having extraordinary powers. You can contribute.

... (Interruptions)

DR. T. SUBBARAMI REDDY : I sleep only for four hours because I am having extra powers. I am active for 20 hours with different social, political, spiritual and cultural activities. (Interruptions).

I quote the hon. Member, Shri Varkala Radhakrishnan's amendment which says: "shall not show undue preference". It is poor English. Our hon. Minister, Shri P.R. Kumaramangalam is having a vibrant personality in any language and jurisprudence. Why does he put little different English. Everybody wants it in simple words. The farmers and poor people's subsidy should not be wiped away by this Bill. The hon. Minister is bringing this Bill to help the nation. That is his philosophy. However, our people are thinking that it is going to harm them. So, it should be made simple. (Interruptions). Anyway, the Government is going to pass this Bill because they are in a majority.

My submission is that 40,000 mws should be produced in the Ninth Plan. This is a challenge to the hon. Minister. Our hon. Minister is a very dynamic man. (Interruptions). No new project is coming in India in spite of our dream. There are some red-tapisms and there are some problems. Some State Governments agree but the Central Government does not agree.

09.06.98 Uncorrected/Not for Publication ###

)) language and jurisprudence. Why does he put little different English. Everybody wants it in simple words. The farmers and poor people's subsidy should not be wiped away by this Bill. The hon. Minister is bringing this Bill to help the nation. That is his philosophy. However, our people are thinking that it is going to harm them. So, it should be made simple. (Interruptions). Anyway, the Government is going to pass this Bill because they are in a majority.

My submission is that 40,000 mws should be produced in the Ninth Plan. This is a challenge to the hon. Minister. Our hon. Minister is a very dynamic man. (Interruptions). No new project is coming in India in spite of our dream. There are some red-tapisms and there are some problems. Some State Governments agree but the Central Government does not agree.

Otherwise the Finance Minister does not agree. If all the three agree, there will be foreign collaboration problems. So, something or the other is coming in the way and nothing is moving. We want that God, Ishwar, Allah must help us to give power to the entire nation without effort.

In this Regulatory Bill, they must add one more thing. As on today, in India, only 30 per cent efficiency is being achieved in generation, distribution and transmission whereas in advanced countries, eighty per cent efficiency is being achieved. So, with Shri Kumaramangalam's dynamism, it must increase to at least sixty per cent. This he must take as a challenge. Shri Baalu, do you agree with me or not?

level.

DR. T. SUBBARAMI REDDY : Of course, he can. Why not? Nothing is impossible for him. He will prove it. Do not under estimate Shri Kumaramangalam. What do you think of him? He will definitely do it. When Shri Jogi mentioned about quorum, immediately quorum was there. So, what is impossible for him?

Passing the Bill or not passing the Bill is not the question. The Bill will get passed though I have to oppose it because we have taken a policy decision to oppose it. But that is not the point. The point is that it is a good and noble cause. Electricity is not a film making, electricity is the most important thing for human life and for modern society. Without generation and transmission of electricity, no modern energy will come from human life. Therefore, let us be united and fight this problem out. It is a big task before the Government. My request is that the hon. Minister should take into consideration various suggestions given by all the Opposition Members, who are also intelligent people and who are also Members of Parliament. Even Shri Radhakrishnan will have a sound sleep if you give consideration to his modification also. He is not asking anything for himself. His only worry is what you call...(Interruptions)

AN HON. MEMBER: Undue preference.

DR. T. SUBBARAMI REDDY : Undue preference is a very vague word. What is the meaning of `undue preference'? Shri Kumaramangalam once said that State Governments have got full liberty to give subsidy. If Electricity Boards give subsidy, they should not become sick. The State Governments should reimburse and make the State Electricity Boards as strong as the ruling party now is. That is what he wants. We want a more stronger ruling party, like the Opposition party, the Congress party, by allowing more modifications because the Congress party has been the strongest all these years. Therefore, even though the Minister is proposing and various friends are supporting it consciously and judiciously, I also feel that the basic principle and philosophy of the Regulating Bill is to build up a more efficient system of transmission, distribution and generation of electricity and to solve the problem, for which I congratulate, appreciate and admire him. But, at the same time I request him to make everybody feel happy by accepting all their

amendments, modifications, this and that and make it a complete, beautiful panchshakti in such a way that this Bill should help in nation's prosperity. Therefore, I support the Bill with modifications and I oppose the Bill without modifications.

SHRI TATHAGATA SATPATHY (DHENKANAL): Mr. Chairman, Sir, thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on an important subject which is not only foremost in the minds of the Members of Parliament but is also being discussed by the common man.

Sir, I support the Bill in all its totality, but I have certain doubts about the intention of this Bill because it has been in vogue now and at least in India, we know it since long - and one of the strongest proponents of this idea was Mahatma Gandhi - that small is beautiful. Therefore, decentralisation is an idea which is in focus right now all over the world. We are also trying it out in India in every sphere.

But somehow it seems as if this Bill--maybe that is not the intention --is going against the spirit of decentralisation. If we talk about a Central Regulatory Authority and State Regulatory Authorities, the very word `regulatory' seems a bit scary because what are we regulating? We are not regulating generation, we are not regulating distribution, we are not regulating efficiency and we are not regulating losses that are incurred in all the SEBs all over India due to bad transmission. We have to incur tremendous losses due to transmission and that is solely because of very poor efficiency at the level of State Electricity Boards. We all know that all over the world, if there is no power, there is no life today.

It is not only the farmer who is interested in getting subsidised power. But in a country like India where we are desperately trying for industrialisation and especially in the backward States where there are no industries except in certain clusters in the Western part of the nation, we are very much interested that power be supplied at a steady pace and at a rate that is affordable not only by the farmer but by the industrialist also. But if you go through this Bill, you will find that there is a move to bring about a parity in tariff. I welcome this move to bring about a parity. But the question is : parity with what? Suppose the hon. Minister decides that he will bring about a parity with the rate of Enron, the rate at which it is selling power in Maharashtra, then I do not think that farmers or small scale industrialists in Orissa or other backward States like Bihar, West Bengal or even Uttar Pradesh would be able to pay that rate. So, parity with what? He can bring about parity with the United States of America or he can bring about parity with Sri Lanka or Pakistan. So, that is the moot point which I hope the hon. Minister, if he is listening to me, will elucidate on and tell us what he thinks is the meaning of `parity'.

Sir, as you know, in Orissa, the late Biju Patnaik was an innovative man and he was the first to bring about privatisation in the power sector. The Orissa State Electricity Board which is called GRIDCO now has ....

MR. CHAIRMAN : It is enough Sir.

SHRI TATHAGATA SATPATHY : Sir, I am just finishing.

It has taken a lot of steps in privatisation. But we find that although there is privatisation, yet there is no transparency as far as ensuring efficiency in the organisations is concerned. So, unless there is efficiency in the organisation, unless there is increase in the production of power and unless there is a thought given to the farmer and the small industrialist, this Power Regulatory Commission, which is an attempt to centralise power at Delhi-level, could prove counterproductive.

Thank you, Sir.

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MR. CHAIRMAN : Shri Bwiswmuthiary. He is the last speaker in this debate and after him, the hon. Minister will reply to the debate.

SHRI SANSUMA KHUNGGUR BWISWMUTHIARY (KOKRAJHAR): Honourable Chairman, Sir, the hon. Minister of Power and the learned Members of this House, I would like to draw your attention to the untold sufferings and troubles which are being faced by the Bodoland populace because of the negligence of the Government of Assam as well as its State Electricity Board authorities. There is no well established infrastructure for electricity in the remote areas. For example, in my own native village which is called Goybari village in Bongaigaon district, there is no electrification and because of the dearth of this facility millions of downtrodden, indigenous tribal people have been facing a lot of problems in respect of their socioeconomic life, in respect of their cultivation irrigationand also in respect of their industrial activities.

20.00 hrs. Within the proposed Bodoland Territory, we have got one Thermal Power Station which is called Bongaigaon Thermal Power Station located at Salakati. This project was set up during 1980. Before setting up of this station, the Assam Government convinced the indigenous tribal people to lend their landed property for setting up the said project. With a high hope and expectation of getting facilities, the local tribal people had given their landed properties. A large number of foresteries have been destroyed in the name of setting up of that very project. Now, what is happening? Due to certain conspiracies of the concerning authorities themselves that project is forced to the jaws of death. This project is located within the Bodoland area. The Assam Government having got the defeatist mentality that Bodoland is going to be created and if this difficult project is not either leased out or sold out to any other foreign company Assam Government will be put to heavy loss it is planning to lease out that biggest Thermal Power Station located in the Bodoland area to one American company. But the provisions to avoid such a thing have not been made in this Electricity Regulatory Commission, Bill,1998

So, I would like to appeal to the hon. Minister to direct the State Government of Assam to set aside that sort of a detrimental idea. We all the indigenous tribal people, various trade unions, labour unions, employees' organisations and associations have been strongly opposing that move. So, I would like to appeal to the Central Government to direct the Assam Government to give up that very idea which is very detrimental. I also appeal the Government to take very concrete steps at the national level to provide electricity at subsidised rates to the tribal farmers. It should provide a well defined rural electricity system in the entire areas of Scheduled Caste schedule Tribes and backward and the backward people of the whole country. SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: Sir, firstly I am very grateful for the participation of the hon. Members... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN : Mr. Minister, you have already spoken for an hour while introducing the Bill itself. So, a very limited explanation is expected by the hon. Members.

... (Interruptions)

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MR. CHAIRMAN: Please cooperate with the House. The Minister has already started his reply. You were not at all present in the House. Before your arrival, I called Mr. Minister.

... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: The time allotted was one hour. You came after three hours.

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If such a system is allowed, then the House cannot be properly conducted. The Minister has already been called by the Chair to begin his reply.

... (Interruptions)

SHRI P.R. KUMARAMANGALAM: I moved that the Bill be taken into consideration.

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MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Minister, you can continue.

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PROF. P.J. KURIEN : Mr. Chairman, Sir, please allow him to speak for at least two minutes. ... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: The hon. Member was not available.


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