New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday took a swipe at the Centre over the issue of widespread power outages, saying the government has found the “perfect solution” to it which is to cancel passenger trains and run coal rakes.
He also said the ministries of coal, railway and power are desperately inventing excuses to hide their “monumental incompetence”.
Various states continued to reel under power crisis on Friday with soaring mercury pushing demand higher, as opposition parties blamed the Centre for coal shortage at thermal plants.
Attacking the government over the issue, Chidambaram said, “Abundant coal, large rail network, unutilised capacity in thermal plants. Yet, there is acute power shortage. Modi Government cannot be blamed. It is because of 60 years of Congress rule!”
“There is no incompetence in the Ministries of Coal, Railway or Power. The blame lies with past Congress ministers of the said departments!” he said.
“Government has found the perfect solution: cancel passenger trains and run coal rakes! Modi hai, mumkin hai,” the former Union minister said in a series of tweets.
Later, Chidambaram in another tweet said the ministries of coal, railway and power are desperately inventing excuses to hide their “monumental incompetence”.
“If they believed the yarn that we were witnessing a V-shaped recovery, they would have stepped up coal production and coal imports,” he said.
Despite the absence of a V-shaped recovery, and only a recovery in fits and starts, the government is “totally unprepared” to tackle the coal-rail-power crisis, the former Union minister said.
As shortages persist and inflation rises, please brace for more hardships, he added.
In his tweets, Chidambaram also cited a newspaper editorial which has said Indian Railways “vastly underestimated the requirements for 2021-22
“Evidently, no lessons were learnt and the situation has worsened in the first month of 2022-23. Has the Minister of Railway fixed accountability for the grave lapse?” he said.
Why has the minister not tendered an apology to the country, Chidambaram asked.
As a heatwave continued, the country’s peak power demand touched an all-time high of 207.11 GW on Friday and the railways cancelled 42 passenger trains to facilitate coal freight movement, with South East Central Railway (SECR) division that covers the coal-producing regions cancelling 34 trains.
Aam Aadmi Party and Congress leaders held the Centre responsible for the ongoing power crisis and alleged that logistical support was not being provided for coal distribution to power plants.