Danger bells for Telangana as Congress encourages privatization of govt. entities  

Reports suggest that the Congress government is gradually making steps towards privatization of Telangana’s power utilities. Political analysts suggest that the state government is poised to transfer the utilities to the Adani group. This comes right after the government participated in the auction of Singareni coal blocks.

The Electricity Amendment Bill introduced by the Center allows for the franchise system in power companies. If implemented, this bill could enable the state to secure a loan of approximately Rs. 5,000 crores under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act. However, as KCR didn’t budge to implement these electricity reforms, Telangana has lost around Rs. 25,000 crores over five years.

Criticism has arisen that, with these reforms, interests of Telangana people and farmers are being compromised for the Center’s benefit. Speculation is rife that Chief Minister Revanth Reddy’s recent visit to Delhi involved discussions on this matter with the union government. 

Concerns are being raised that the state’s major revenue sources will be systematically privatized in stages. As part of this strategy, experts in the power sector claim the Revanth Reddy government is falsely portraying power companies as unprofitable. They question how per capita power consumption can increase if companies are genuinely losing money. Allegations suggest a conspiracy to privatize power companies by labeling them as loss-making entities, with Hyderabad’s old city billing being introduced as a pilot project.

Telangana power companies, once praised nationwide, are now being portrayed as financially troubled by the Congress leaders.  It is believed that showcasing these institutions as loss-making may deter investments and companies from entering the state.

Questions are being raised about how Congress leaders, who opposed the Center’s power reforms in 2015, can now justify handing over power distribution in Telangana to Adani. Critics ask on what basis public sector organizations are being sidelined and the billing system outsourced. They also question the use of existing transmission lines, which were established at great cost, and whether new lines will be laid by private companies.

Concerns have been voiced about whether open tenders will be called for billing or if it will be done through nomination without actual tenders. There is anxiety that privatization of the electricity system will result in significant job losses and the cessation of reservations for SC, ST, BC, and minority communities. Additionally, there are warnings that privatization may lead to difficulties in providing quality electricity.