The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today demanded that Punjab power minister Rana Gurjeet Singh’s portfolio be changed immediately, citing “conflict of interest” due to a firm co-founded by him selling power to the state power corporation. AAP MLA and leader of opposition in Punjab assembly H S Phoolka alleged that the minister is the co-founder of Rana Sugar limited which is selling electricity to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL).
Noting that “it is the clear case of conflict of interest”, Phoolka said being a minister, Rana is controlling PSPCL that is purchasing electricity from his own firm.
He said Rana Sugar Limited generates 34 megawatts electricity and out of that 20 megawatts is being sold to PSPCL.
He said Rana and his wife are the largest shareholders in the firm and demanded that his portfolio must be changed immediately.
He said if Punjab government’s plan to sell electricity to Pakistan works out then it will directly benefit the private electricity producing firms in state including Rana Sugar limited owned by the minister.
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Meanwhile, Rana rubbished the charges of AAP that his holding the power portfolio amounted to conflict of interest.
“If an agriculturist can become an agriculture minister, if a doctor can become a health minister or a lawyer can become a law minister, what is wrong if someone who has expertise in producing power becoming the power minister?” he argued.
Responding to the statement of the AAP leader Phoolka that Rana Sugars Limited, in which Rana has shares, was producing power and supplying to the PSPCL, the minister pointed out the agreement had been done long time ago during the Akali-BJP regime.
“Phoolka is a respected man and instead of shooting the breeze, he should explain as how my being power minister amounted to conflict of interest,” he said, contending, “If a company, in which I have stakes, is supplying power to the PSPCL in a transparent manner following all the norms and procedures and without my role or influence, should that be held against me?”
Asserting that there was no conflict of interest in his heading the power ministry, Rana assured Phoolka that within a year he (Phoolka) and whole of Punjab will “feel the difference” in the power sector.
“I have knowledge and experience in the power sector and I will ensure to use this knowledge, experience and expertise for the benefit of the state and not for my personal interests,” he said.
However, he added that Phoolka was welcome to expose if there was any wrong doing on his part in supplying power to the PSPCL.