After subsidising power, AAP orders audit of discoms

New Delhi, Jan 1 : The Aam Aadmi Party's government in Delhi Wednesday lived up to its yet another big-ticket poll promise of getting the financials of power distribution companies audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.

After cheap power and water to Delhiites, audit of power distribution companies was one of the major poll promises of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

After a long meeting with bureaucrats and cabinet ministers, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told reporters: "The audit will begin from tomorrow (Thursday)."

He added Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung has ordered the CAG to start looking into the company account books of discoms from Thursday.

The auditing of the three power distribution companies - BSES Yamuna Power Ltd., BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd. and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd. - was one of the major poll planks of the AAP, which alleged fudging of the account books by the companies to show losses as a pretext to hike tariff.

"What the government could not achieve in the past four years ... we did it in four days," Kejriwal told reporters, referring to the previous Congress government which, the AAP has alleged, was in collusion with the discoms.

The decision came a day after the government introduced 50 percent subsidy in the electricity bills for those households which consume up to 400 units of power a month.

Kejriwal has pinned his hopes on the findings of the audit, subsequent to which, he says, huge subsidy in power bills won't be required.

The subsidy move has been criticised by experts as untenable.

Kejriwal said he requested CAG Shashi Kant Sharma to do the audit in three months but the latter said it depended on the "cooperation" of the power distribution companies.

Asked what were the objections raised by the power distribution companies, Kejriwal said there was no reason for not getting their accounts audited.

The Delhi government gave the three companies time till Wednesday to give their views on why there should not be a CAG audit of their account books.

On Wednesday, the chief minister agreed that slashing electricity rates through subsidy was not a sustainable solution.

"This is not a sustainable way. That is why an audit is needed. This is just to give some relief to the people till a long-term solution is found," he said.

Kejriwal Tuesday met the CAG to seek an audit of the power distribution companies in the national capital.

When asked for his reaction over Congress-led Haryana government slashing power rates and a Congress MP in Maharashtra batting for AAP's model on power tariff, he said: "I am very happy and I told you we will teach them (political parties) politics."

--IANS (Posted on 01-01-2014)

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