Hundreds of Aam Aadmi Party workers led by their Punjab unit chief faced water cannons outside the house of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh while protesting against the electricity crisis in the state during peak summer. A few AAP leaders have been detained by the police.
Punjab AAP chief Bhagwant Mann and his party worker gathered in force outside Amarinder Singh’s house in Mohali this afternoon and started shouting slogans. Later, they started marching towards the Chief Minister’s residence. This drew the police to use water cannons on the protesters.
The Punjab government has been facing criticism over severe power shortage amid an intense heatwave. The state has already ordered shorter working hours in government offices and has requested department to reduce use of high power-consuming appliances like air-conditioners.
The electricity demand in the state soared to over a massive 14,000 megawatt (MW) a day. The electricity shortage has become a major election issue with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party even promising 300 units of free power to every household if the party wins the polls due early next year.
The AAP after coming to power in Delhi had implemented free electricity scheme up to a few hundred units.
Another opposition party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, also held protests on Friday against the power crisis. It alleged the Amarinder Singh government of withholding eight hours of free electricity for farmers, imposing unscheduled power cuts in urban areas and ordering closure of industries twice a week.
The power crisis has been made worse by the heat wave. However, the oppressive heatwave that swept through the north Indian plains and hills has abated and no such conditions are likely during the next five days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today.
The temperature is likely to fall by 3-4 degree Celsius over the next five days, the weather office said. It had issued a heat wave alert for July 1-2.