Jharkhand breaks agreement with Centre, RBI on power dues
Express News Service
RANCHI: In a major decision taken by the State Cabinet on Wednesday, the Jharkhand Government made an exit from the ‘Tripartite Agreement’ among the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central government (through Union power ministry) and State Governments/UTs.
As per the Tripartite Agreements to which these three bodies are signatories, the Central Bank (RBI) has the power to deduct amounts equal to discoms’ over dues to the NTPC from the accounts of the State Government/UT and pay it directly to the power producer.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren said that the decision to withdraw from Tripartite Agreements’ was taken as the agreement was one sided.
“The fund which was meant for development and uplift of tribals and marginalized section of societies was deducted from Centre,” said Soren.
Energy Department principal secretary Avinash Kumar said that the decision was taken in the larger interest of the State.
The agreements make it incumbent on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to deduct the default amount from the respective state government’s accounts with the central bank.
Notably, a sum of Rs 1,417.50 crore was auto debited from Jharkhand’s account with the Reserve Bank of India without consulting the state as an adjusted against dues the state owed to Damodar Valley Corporation.
The state government had objected the move expressing “deep anguish and disappointment at the blatant and continuous attempt by the Centre to impose fiscal penalties on Jharkhand”.
Power distribution company, the Jharkhand Bijli Vitaran Nigam Ltd (JBVNL) owes Rs 5000 crore to DVC (a unit of Centre government), and the DVC on earlier occasion had written letter to JBVNL to clear the dues.
The DVC from last month (December) had already made power cuts in the seven districts — Dhanbad, Ramgarh, Hazaribagh, Koderma, Bokaro, Giridih and Chatra — by as much as 30 per cent after JBVNL faulted on payment of monthly power bills.
The DVC with non-payment of power dues had written a letter to JBVNL to make 50 per cent power cuts if the dues are not cleared.