Maharashtra Congress MP wants state to cut power bill

Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam has threatened to stage an agitation if the Maharashtra government does not reduce power tariff for people who consume less than 500 units per month.

Taking a leaf from the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) move in Delhi, Nirupam on Wednesday dashed off a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, stating that the party should pass on subsidy benefits to the middle-class and the lower middle-class, instead of power companies.

“It is important that the party deliberates on the legitimate expectation of the middle-class and slum populace if it does not want to lose its connect with the masses,” he said.

Nirupam, who is also a Congress spokesperson, even asked Chavan to set up an inquiry into costing and pricing mechanism adopted by power distribution companies.

The letter, which was leaked to the media, stated: “Though the Delhi government has ordered a CAG audit of the power distribution companies, it has gone ahead and reduced the tariff even before commencing of the audit.

The regulatory authority in Delhi was not even consulted, but whenever we raised this issue in Mumbai the standard reply given was that the matter has been referred to the regulator. In the past 10 years, the power tariff in Mumbai has increased by around four times in all sectors.” Earlier in the day, one of the most prominent farmland activist groups from eastern Maharashtra, the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS), wrote a letter asking all chief ministers to emulate the Delhi government.

“It is an irony that Delhi’s new chief minister has managed to provide water and power subsidies to the masses despite being a small state with a budget of just Rs 4,000 crore, while Maharashtra with a budget running over Rs 1,60,000 crore fails to extend benefits to the debt-stricken peasants, food-starved tribal and other poorer sections of society,” VJAS leader Kishore said.

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