Chennai: Alarmed at Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu`s proposal to buy power through bidding, AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa Thursday said proposal to buy cheap power should be in consultation with state governments and power utilities.
"The proposal to purchase cheaper traction power by Railways should not be at the cost of the health of the state power utilities which are already bearing a heavy burden of providing an essential service to a big range of consumers.
"Hence, any step in this direction should be in consultation with the state governments and power utilities," said the former Tamil Nadu chief minister in a statement here.
Presenting the railway budget for 2015-16, Prabhu said: "Although a bulk consumer, Railways pays extremely high charges for traction power. It is proposed to procure power through the bidding process at economical tariff from generating companies, power exchanges, and bilateral arrangements."
"This initiative is likely to result in substantial savings of at least Rs.3,000 crore in next few years," he said.
Ruling AIADMK is naturally worried about Prabhu`s proposal as the state owned power utility is already suffering from losses.
Jayalalithaa expressed her happiness at the minister not proposing any hike in the passenger fares and welcomed his budget.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam has however not commented on the railway budget.
In his reaction, DMK president M.Karunanidhi said with the diesel getting cheaper, it was expected that there would be reduction in passenger and freight rates but that did not happen.
He said for the first time in the history of railway budget, no new or additional trains were announced.
"It is a budget that cannot be welcomed in any way," Karunanidhi said.