Voicing its concern for the people of the state paying high power tariff, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spearheaded a massive ‘Bijli Andolan’ under the leadership of Punjab state unit chief of the Party and Sangrur Member of Parliament (MP) Bhagwant Mann here on Thursday from Gharanchon and Sheron village in Sangrur Assembly segment, where poor villagers received fatty power bills for a whopping 60, 000.On the occasion, a large of number of villagers, who had turned up from distant villages in the area with their hefty power bills, narrated their tales of woe to the media persons here in the presence of Mann. Announcing the setting up of ‘bijli committee’ at Gharanchon village, Mann said that the party would replicate this model in each and every village of the state. The committees would look into the problems being faced by the poor people and redress them.Mann said in the presence of LoP Punjab Vidhan Sabha Harpal Cheema, Deputy LoP and Jagaron MLA Sarabjit Kaur Manuke, Lok Sabha candidate from Sri Anandpur Sahib, Narendra Singh Shergill, the issue would be taken up in the Vidhan Sabha under the leadership of Cheema and said that he would raise the issue in the Lok Sabha, yet again, in the coming session.
He said that it was the right time to raise the united voice against the menace that was affecting the rich and the poor alike. He exhorted them to be a part of the big fight against the menace, thereby salvaging the suffering people of Punjab from the unmerited harassment meted out to them due to the insensitivity of the government in the state.Holding the private players and thermal plants responsible for the high power tariff, Mann said MoUs were signed between the private companies and then SAD-BJP government in the saddle, Mann said, was a scam worth crores of rupees involving Sukhbir Singh Badal and the private companies. He accused the Captain government of colluding with the Badals in the nexus by maintaining a stoic silence. He alleged that like the Badal duo, Captain too has also ensured his pound of flesh in the murky deal.Mann said that the electricity fares in Delhi are cheapest in the country. The consumers have to pay Rs.1 per unit upto 200 units and from 200 units to 400 units the electricity departments charges just Rs. 2.50 per unit. While in Punjab the consumers pay Rs. 6 upto 100 units and Rs. 8.50 upto 300 units.Mann said the important fact is that Delhi does not produce electricity on its own but buy it from other states and provide cheap electricity to the residents of Delhi while Punjab has many sources of electricity production and boasts of being electricity surplus state yet the elevtricity fares are highest among the states in country.
Paying the hefty bills through nose: government insensitive
Bhola Singh and Dalel Singh, both daily wage earners and residents of Ghrachon village, narrated their tale of woe. Bhola Singh said that he was residing in a 3-room house which had four bulbs and three ceiling fans. Even as being a Dalit was entitled to free power, he received a bill for Rs 16, 218 dated December 8, 2018. When he approached the electricity department to point out the anomaly, the officials, instead of give a patient hearing, threatened him to pay the bill. “I started paying on a monthly installment basis and still had an outstanding of Rs 2000.” Showing his bill dated December 11, 2018 for Rs 4430, Dalel Singh of the same village, told “I am covered under the general category and am landless. I have 5 bulbs and three ceiling fans in the house for which I got the fatty bill” He too was paying on a monthly installment basis. He was told by the officials that if he did not pay, his power connection would be cut.
Power bill for Rs 59,532 for one ceiling fan and one bulb
A resident of Jagowal village Sandip Singh’s father Amar Singh received a bill for Rs 59, 532 dated December 20, 2018, for one bulb and one ceiling fan, which virtually shattered him. He is covered under the ‘Dalit’ category, and was told to pay else face the music. Similarly, Gulzar Singh of the village received a bill for Rs 20,675, dated December 20, 2018, for using two buls and two ceiling fans in the house. His meeting with area SDO proved futile as he was told to pay.
Cut between two obvious choices: roti or electricity bill?
Aloarkh village resident Lakhwinder’saged father Nasib Singh got a bill for Rs 4,830 dated December 9, 2018, (for 175 units) for two months. He lamented that he had four bulbs and two coolers and was not able to keep the kitchen fires burning in view of the hefty power bills.
Shall have to pay the bill for Rs 32, 300
Fagguwala village resident Kulwant Singh told that he got a bill for Rs 32, 300 (bill in the name of his father Baldev Singh) dated January 19, 2019 (613 units), while in July 2018 for 613 units for Rs 1620, in Sept 2018 for 419 units for 38,520 and so on. When approached, the departmental official said there was no way ot but to pay the bill.