DMK chief Karunanidhi said that amendments in the Electricity Act, 2003, will affect states' rights and urged the Centre to avoid going ahead on the issue. "After the amendments are passed, electricity will come to be managed by the Centre which is now being done concurrently by states and the Union government," he said adding that the move would "largely affect the rights of states."
He said that if the changes are made, the power distribution would go entirely to private hands.
"I urge that the proposed amendments must be avoided which encourage privatisation and instead constructive work should be carried on to multiply power generation," he said in a statement.
The Union government has proposed to bring in amendment to the Electricity Act, 2003 for "promoting competition, efficiency in operations and improvement in quality of electricity supply."
The amendments, Karunanidhi said, would facilitate use of infrastructure of power utilities for transmission and distribution and it "envisages sharing the losses of private entities by government companies and this portends serious danger."
"There is a threat of free electricity to sections like farmers, huts and handlooms being stopped," he claimed.
Karunanidhi further said "the move would lead to a further rise in prices of essential commodities due to privatisation of the sector."
He also highlighted the issues of "loss of jobs" for employees in power sector, and an apathetic situation in which states would have to depend on private sector for growth projects.
He said several states, including the BJP-run Gujarat, have opposed the proposed amendments besides employees of the power sector who have given a strike call.