MNS threatens to protest over inflated power bills

MNS leader Raj Thackeray   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

A day after Maharashtra Power Minister Nitin Raut announced that no relief could be extended to domestic power consumers in case of inflated electricity bills during the three months of lockdown, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on Thursday announced to hold State-wide agitations. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too has decided to jump into the fray.

“We would give time till Monday within which the State government must declare a relief package for power consumers. If it fails to do so, the party will organise protests in every district and the government will be responsible for the consequences,” MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar said.

Mr. Nandgaonkar said that the Power Minister had announced relief up to 100 units. “The MNS delegations have held meetings with the State government, BEST, and private power companies. It was the State’s responsibility to keep the promise. But instead the minister said that no relief could be extended. The government has betrayed the people of Maharashtra,” the MNS leader said.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray had met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari with the demand to provide relief to domestic power consumers and later had held a meeting with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar as well.

Mr. Nandgaonkar said that the party would stand with consumers if power companies tried to disconnect the connection. “In case of any such attempt, we will cut power connection of ministers,” he said.

Meanwhile, the main Opposition BJP held protests at different locations in the State against the minister’s statement that no relief could be extended to affected power consumers.

The decision to not extend financial relief was taken following financial strain on the State due to lockdown. According to sources, eight petitions were made by the Energy Department to the Finance Department seeking a package, but were denied.

In the first week of November, Mr. Raut had said that he would extend ‘happy news’ post Deepavali leading to speculation that the relief package would be announced. On Tuesday, however, the minister said that the State power company itself was facing a debt of ₹69,000 crore and it was not possible to provide relief to consumers as they would have to pay the entire bill amount in three instalments.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 12:02:09 AM |

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