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Maha BJP Warns of Agitation if No Relief Given to Power Consumers; NCP Blames Fadnavis Govt for Crisis

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With consumers complaining of high electricity bills amid the pandemic, opposition parties in Maharashtra have demanded that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government grant concessions in payment.

BJP leader and former Maharashtra energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Friday warned that electricity bills will be burnt across the state on November 23 if no relief is given to consumers. With consumers complaining of high electricity bills amid the pandemic, opposition parties in Maharashtra have demanded that the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government grant concessions in payment.

"Those who consume up to 300 units of electricity daily should get waiver from bill payment for the period from March to June. To press our demand, the party is going to stage a bill-burning protest on November 23," Bawankule said here.

"People have lost jobs (due to lockdown)….several electricity consumers have received inflated bills. The government should correct these bills," he said.

On energy minister Nitin Raut's allegation that the previous BJP-led government did not recover the dues of power firms, Bawankule said it wanted to give relief to farmers. "The BJP government did not pursue recovery of electricity bills of 45 lakh farmers as they were in distress….We did not disconnect any power connections.

"But the current government is raising this issue to divert attention from its failure to keep its promise to waive the bills of the poor," the BJP leader alleged. Earlier in the day, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis claimed that the three state-run power firms performed well during the BJP regime.

"We purchased power at a very cheap rate…We gave concession to the poor and farmers," the senior BJP leader said, attacking the present government for not keeping its promise to waive bills. Energy Minister Raut had said earlier this week that the government will not be able to provide any relaxation in electricity bills. The power firms were making huge losses, and it was a "mess" inherited from the BJP government, he claimed.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra minister and state NCP chief Jayant Patil accused the previous BJP-led government of pushing the state-run power transmission company MSEDCL into a crisis due to the power bills worth Rs 67,000 crore outstanding from consumers in the state. His statement comes amid criticism being faced by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government over the issue of inflated electricity bills, with demand growing for waiver of these bills.

Talking to reporters here, Patil said, "During the BJP-led government's five-year rule, power bills worth Rs 67,000 crore were outstanding, due to which the MSEDCL (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd) went into a crisis." "Today, the common man is facing hardships due to the power bills. The previous BJP government in the state had put the MSEDCL into crisis...," he added. He said the MVA government is taking efforts to reduce the burden on consumers and finding a way out over the outstanding amount.

"State power minister Nitin Raut is taking good efforts to deal with the situation," he said.


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