Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj H. K. Patil said in Mangalore on Monday that the government has constituted a committee to study the issue of electricity bill dues gram panchayats owed to electricity supply companies (escoms) in the State.

To a question at a press conference the minister said that his department did not fully agree with the amount of dues being mentioned by the escoms. The issue had been discussed with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The committee would find out the exact amount of dues gram panchayats owing to escoms. The committee had representatives of escoms, Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (KPTCL) and officials of the department of rural development and panchayat raj. “I hope we will be able to solve the issue in six months,” he said.

Mr. Patil said that the State government was now in the process of implementing Rajiv Gandhi Chaitanya Yojane, under Karnataka Rural Livelihood Mission, to provide employment to two lakh unemployed youth in the State. Under this programme one lakh youth would be encouraged to take up various self-employment projects by making home-made products or dairying. Loan would be advanced to groups of youth upto Rs. 10 lakh for starting activities. They would be given loans at an interest rate of four per cent.

Another one lakh youth would be encouraged to join jobs as security persons in industries or any other jobs in other firms. Youths having different skills would be encouraged to join jobs in firms.

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