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Shiromani Akali Dal calls for protests in Punjab against electricity bills

Sukhbir Badal

Sukhbir Badal   | Photo Credit: AKHILESH KUMAR

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) members in Punjab have planned to hold State-wide protests against the high electricity bills sent to traders and industrialist for the lockdown period following the COVID-19 outbreak and to press the ruling Congress to immediately withdraw the same.

The party also alleged misappropriation in the distribution of the Central government’s ration in Punjab by leaders of the ruling party. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal on Thursday demanded a probe into the allegations.

Mr. Badal said that the ration being sent under the extended Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme should be monitored stringently by Central observers to ensure that it is not pilfered and sold in the open market.

Exodus of workers

Mr. Badal also alleged that the Punjab government had failed to distribute the ration from the Centre to migrant labourers, resulting in an exodus of workers from the State that had adversely affected its industry and agricultural operations.

N.K. Sharma, president of the party’s trade and industry wing, said that members of Akali Dal, along with traders and industrialists, will hold protests in front of the Punjab State Power Coroporation Limited (PSPCL) offices across the State.

“It is shameful that the PSPCL, under the direction of the State government, has sent bills to several traders and industries based on the average for the period of the three month lockdown. This is not acceptable. We will soon launch protests,” he said in a statement.

“Industry and businesses were closed and failed to earn a single penny during the lockdown. But the PSPCL has sent hefty power bills to them. We want the immediate withdrawal of these bills while also allowing traders and industrialists to pay their future bills in instalments over the next six months. Also, no interest should be charged during this period,” said Mr. Sharma.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 12:24:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/shiromani-akali-dal-calls-for-protests-in-punjab-against-electricity-bills/article31975192.ece

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