Staff Correspondent

The bills amount to Rs. 459 crores

The gram panchayats did not have funds to settle the bills and were running the risk of disconnection KPTCL has installed meters in many gram panchayats Funds under the 12th Finance Commission to be sent to the gram panchayats directly

DAVANGERE: The State Government has decided to settle the power bills of various gram panchayats in the State amounting to Rs. 459 crores to the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (KPTCL), N. Shivashilam, Principal Secretary to the State Government, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, has said.

Speaking to presspersons here on Saturday, Mr. Sivasailam said that the amount has been due to KPTCL from different gram panchayats in the State in the past few years. The gram panchayats did not have funds to settle the bills and were running the risk of disconnection, when the State Government came to their rescue and said that it will settle their bills, he said.

He said since meters were not installed, the gram panchayats had been paying 50 per cent more than the actual consumption for water supply and streetlights. The Government had directed KPTCL to install meters in all gram panchayats, failing which it will direct the gram panchayats to buy meters and install them. KPTCL has installed meters in many gram panchayats, he added. He said power charges are expected to come down by 50 per cent with the installation of meters.

The Government is committed to giving full powers to gram panchayats and has started sending funds directly to them since last year, Mr. Sivasailam said. Funds under the 12th Finance Commission will be sent to the gram panchayats. Apart from this, gram panchayats have been given powers to collect water cess in their respective jurisdictions and use it for developmental works, he said.

Chief Executive Officer of the Davangere Zilla Panchayat Jitendra Naik said that Rs. 28 crores is due from gram panchayats to BESCOM in Davangere district.

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