The Madhya Pradesh government today waived off electricity bills of all households below the poverty line (BPL) in the State. The decision to waive off the pending bills, amounting to Rs. 564.68 crores, was taken by the cabinet on July 16.

This amount may increase as families with BPL and Antyodaya ration cards, who have not yet registered their power connections under the BPL category, can also avail this benefit by showing their cards at the collection centres. Of the total amount, which includes surcharges on non payment of bills, the state exchequer will bear Rs. 225 crores and the state-run distribution companies will bear the rest.

There are 64 lakh BPL and Antyodaya families in the State.

This decision comes two days after the launch of the opposition Congress’ election campaign in CM Shivraj Chouhan’s constituency of Budhni. At the Shankhnaad rally, all the state’s top leaders criticized Mr. Chouhan’s Atal Jyoti Abhiyan rural electrification programme. They highlighted the frequent power outages and anomalous bills for households that did not have connections or had single bulb connections.

According to 2011 statistics, the state’s power distribution companies have accumulated losses of Rs. 11, 580 crores. Bill waivers have been offered before almost every election in the state.