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Power Dept urges LG to form a panel to appoint DERC head

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government’s Power Department has requested Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung to constitute a three-member selection committee to appoint chairman for the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).”A proposal to this effect has been sent to the LG for approval,” said a senior Power Department officer. He added: “As per Section 85 of the Electricity Act, 2003, the selection committee is to be constituted by the state government. The power and functions of the state government were delegated to the LG vide a Government of India notification. dated 20.2.2004.”Former DERC Chairman Krishna Saini, a 1981-batch Indian Revenue Service officer, who was appointed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, was removed from the post on November 4, following Jung’s direction to withdraw his appointment order. Saini was appointed without Jung’s approval, which had led to a major confrontation between the AAP-led government and the LG.Interestingly, the Delhi Cabinet had to approve his removal, which has still not happened.In its judgment on August 4, the High Court had declared Saini’s appointment illegal following which Jung set aside his appointment on grounds of “illegal infirmities” on September 22.Taking a serious note of Jung’s order, Kejriwal had shot off a lengthy letter to the LG, asking him to reconsider his decision in public interest. The state Cabinet requested Jung to reconsider the decision thrice, but all in vain. Thereafter, the Power Department issued an order to remove Saini with immediate effect.

Row over removal of DERC chief Krishna Saini, Kejriwal cancels LG’s order

New Delhi: The removal of Krishna Saini as DERC Chairman has triggered yet another row between the Lt Governor and AAP government with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “cancelling” the LG’s order, alleging it was part of a conspiracy to increase power tariff in the national capital.

Kejriwal also attacked LG Najeeb Jung for removing Sukesh Jain from the post of Power Secretary, which he alleged was done as the officer did not cancel Saini’s appointment notification as told by the LG office.

LG had directed removal of Saini and an order to this effect was issued yesterday.

Sukesh Jain was threatened of “serious consequences” as he initially turned down the LG office’s alleged directive to remove Saini with immediate effect, Kejriwal alleged.

“It’s sad that he (Jung) is cutting salaries of people, stopping mohalla clinics, closing schools. He has turned governance into a joke in Delhi. Does he intend to shut down Delhi?” Kejriwal asked.

A file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFPA file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

A file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

The Delhi government has issued show cause notices to the Deputy Secretary (general administration department) and other officers who issued the order cancelling Saini’s appointment, Kejriwal told a press conference.

“There’s a big conspiracy to increase power tariff in Delhi. An honest officer like Krishna Saini was appointed by
following the due process.

“We kept LG in the loop when the selection committee was formed in January. We sent him the information of selecting him as well. Why did the LG choose to act eight months later? On whose directions?” the Chief Minister

Sources in the LG office claimed the government was needlessly dragging it into the case, which it said amounted to undermining constitutional and judicial authorities as the Delhi High Court has already upheld the LG’s order on the DERC appointment issue.

The sources added that contrary to Kejriwal’s claim, the government was sent five reminders asking it to re-process the appointment of DERC as LG’s prior approval was not taken while appointing Saini.

Meanwhile, Sukesh Jain, who has been replaced by Varsha Joshi as Power Secretary, will continue to serve as OSD to the CM.

“BSES discoms are owned by Anil Ambani who is a close friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There must be a reason that compelled the discoms to conspire to remove him,” Kejriwal alleged.

“Saini took a number of pro-public decisions and riled the power companies in the process. He put an end to their thuggery,” he claimed.

He said that Power Minister Satyendar Jain had written to the LG twice informing that matters that involve differences of opinion should be forwarded to the President, but “LG did not do so and acted unilaterally”.

“The file from LG’s office came to me a week ago and I was in the process of consulting legal experts. On November 3 night, (former) Power Secretary Sukesh Jain got a call from the LG office asking him to cancel Saini’s appointment notification.

“The LG office called him again yesterday morning to put pressure. Who put pressure on the LG to resort to such illegal and unconstitutional steps? The BJP-led Centre wants Ambani’s person as DERC chief,” Kejriwal alleged, adding “we will fight and resist any such move”.

AAP govt moves Delhi HC to direct L-G Jung to reconsider cancelling appointment of DERC chief

New Delhi: The AAP government on Friday moved Delhi High Court seeking direction to Lieutenant Governor (LG) to reconsider his decision scrapping appointment of Krishna Saini as the Chairperson of Delhi’s power regulator DERC.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The application was moved before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath who were hearing two pleas challenging the appointment process of the Delhi government. Citing Transaction of Business Rules (TBR), the Delhi government said the LG should be directed to “reconsider his decision on the request of Council of Ministers of GNCTD”.

The court has listed the application on 25 November. LG Najeeb Jung had on 21 September set aside Saini’s appointment in March to the top post of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), as it was done without taking his approval as mandated under the rules and procedure.

The Delhi government has said that “the order of the LG has only found fault with the process that was followed leading upto/culminating in the selection of the DERC Chief and has not otherwise found him unfit for the post”.

The application said the high court, in its 4 August judgement interpreting the inter-relationship between the LG and the Council of Ministers, had said that if the LG does not agree with a decision taken by Council of Ministers, he was required to refer the matter to the President of India.

It further said the “Cabinet of the Delhi government is proposing to request the LG to consider the matter once again and grant ex-post facto approval, which would be in the interest of the seamless and unhindered supply of electricity to the citizens of the national capital of Delhi and hence undeniably in public interest”.

Lt Governor Najeeb Jung sets aside AAP govt’s appointment of DERC chief

New Delhi: Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Wednesday scrapped the appointment of Krishna Saini as chairperson of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) by the AAP government on grounds of legal infirmities, further escalating the already intense confrontation between the two sides.

The L-G’s office said Saini was appointed to the top post of DERC in March without approval of Jung as mandated under rules and procedures. “In the given circumstances, the appointment of the chairpersonhas been declared as void, ab initio,” the L-G’s office said in a statement.

Lt Governor Najib Jung. Reuters

Lt Governor Najeeb Jung. Reuters

Jung has also directed the government to initiate the process for selection of the chairperson of the DERC
immediately, in accordance with law.

Saini, a former chief Income Tax commissioner, was appointed to head the regulator, which takes crucial decisions relating to power sector including tariff, in March without Jung’s approval.

“As per Section 85, Electricity Act, 2003, the selection committee is to be constituted by the state government. The power and functions of the state government have been delegated to the L-G vide Government of India notification dated 20 February, 2004. Further, the council of ministers appointed Sh. Krishna Saini as chairperson, DERC without the approval of the Lt Governor,” Jung’s office said in a statement.

It said as the constitution of the selection committee as well as the appointment of DERC chairperson was done without putting up the matter to Jung for his concurrence, the entire process has been vitiated right from the beginning and “suffers from serious legal infirmities”.

While appointing Saini, the AAP government had cited a Delhi High Court order of 24 February saying it was allowed permission to go ahead with his appointment.

Saini had retired as chief commissioner of Income Tax in January.

The L-G and the AAP government have been at loggerheads over a range of issues including appointments and have even been fighting it out in court. The Delhi High Court had last month held that L-G is the administrative head of Delhi following which the AAP government had challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court.

Later talking to reporters, Jung said Saini’s appointment was quashed as it was “irregular”.

Power experts said the L-G’s decision will further delay the tariff fixation process and all other directives issued by the government to DERC under Section 108 of the Electricity Act without the approval of the LG.

The government, which has time and again held the performance of the discoms as “atrocious”, had ordered the DERC to compensate consumers for unscheduled power cuts

The Delhi High Court, in its 4 August order, had also termed as illegal the appointment of nominee directors of the Delhi government in the boards of the three discoms.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal warns discoms over power outages

New Delhi: In a stern warning to discoms, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said they will be made to compensate consumers for even one-hour-long outage if they do not spruce up their supply network in the next six months.

The warning has come in the wake of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) issuing an order to discoms and power distribution companies to compensate consumers for unscheduled outages extending up to two hours. Penalties can go up to Rs 100 per hour.

Kejriwal said there is need to make discoms “accountable for outages” and then, Delhiites will be benefited from the privatisation of power sector.

A file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFPA file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

A file photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

“For now, we have asked discoms to compensate consumers for unscheduled power cuts extending up to two hours, but after six months if there is no improvement in their power supply network, government will bring it down to one hour norm,” he said here.

“The privatisation of power sector had been done in order to provide better facility of electricity to Delhiites,”
Kejriwal said, adding that the accountability of power distribution companies will be questioned if power outages continue.

“Why electricity wires and transfers get damaged only in Delhi? Why is there no such incidents in Washington, London and New York?” he asked.

“We will also make Delhi a world-class city and for this, the accountability of discoms should be fixed for power outages. They should be penalised for outages. There will then be benefit of privatisation of power sector in the national capital,” he added.

As per the DERC’s order issued yesterday, power distribution companies will have to compensate to consumers for unscheduled power cuts extending up to two hours.

The move followed frequent power outages this month in the midst of an intense heatwave. However, power companies had attributed the blackouts to local faults.

Delhi government to ‘compensate’ people for power cuts

With Delhiites in agony as power cuts are on the rise with the soaring mercury, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday assured his government was personally attending to every complaint they received, adding that a policy will also be enforced where compensation will be provided to people suffering from power cuts for more than two hours.”In Delhi, there have been many power cuts lately and for the past two days I have been observing the situation. In the BSES areas the power cuts are more than usual and in TATA area, there are few power cuts in comparison. Yesterday, the power ministers took cognizance of the matter and we are personally observing all the complaints that are coming through,” Kejriwal told the media here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that he has called a meeting regarding the matter on Monday, he added that he has given policy direction to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), that when there is an ‘unscheduled’ power cut, then it has to be fixed within two hours and if it is not done so, then the people in that area will be compensated.”We had a meeting with the DRC and this policy will be applied soon.15 years ago we brought privatisation in Delhi so that the electricity conditions in the state improve and not so that the power rates increase. Under our government this is the first time that we have not let the rates rise,” Kejriwal said.

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