Mumbai

Will stop cutting power connection of defaulting consumers: Ajit Pawar

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday said the power connections of domestic and agricultural consumers who have failed to clear their dues would not be cut till the issue is discussed in the Assembly.

Mr. Pawar made the statement after Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis raised the issue through an adjournment motion. MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had earlier staged a protest over the power connections of farmers being disconnected. The BJP leaders claimed that people across the State were very angry over the inflated electricity bills.

“Farmers have already suffered big losses due to the lockdown and heavy rainfall. Now, they are facing a crisis owing to cutting of power supply. Lakhs of people are receiving notices,” Mr. Fadnavis said. Alluding to Power Minister Nitin Raut, Mr. Fadnavis said instead of providing relief to consumers, power tariffs were being raised. “Small shopkeepers could not do business during the lockdown. Now you are asking them to pay bills. From where are they going to pay it? So, there is a big problem,” he said.

Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole too called for stopping the ongoing drive of disconnecting the power supply of defaulting consumers. “The practice of issuing the average of past electricity bills to consumers has to be stopped. The Power Department should take an actual meter reading before issuing bills to consumers,” he said.

In response, Mr. Pawar said, “I would like to submit on behalf of the State government that the drive of disconnecting the electricity supply of farmers or other domestic consumers will be stopped immediately until the issue raised is discussed within the House.” The minister said other decisions with regard to the issue will be taken after MLAs are satisfied with the outcome of the discussion.

The State government had earlier said agricultural power consumers have dues of over ₹45,000 crore and domestic users owe over ₹2,778 crore. The Power Department then announced a drive to cut the power connections of users with unpaid bills.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 11:14:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/will-stop-cutting-power-connection-of-defaulting-consumers-ajit-pawar/article33974473.ece

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