Ever since the SP government came to power,the recovery of pending electricity bills has become an uphill task for the power department officials in Mainpuri,which is the parliamentary constituency of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav,with the villagers refusing to pay up citing the partys poll promise of providing free electricity to farmers.
When the power department officials disconnected the electricity supply to 57 villages of the district last week,the villagers began threatening the officials with dire consequences. The government later ordered restoration of the power supply. Two Bewar power sub-station officials,who had gone to serve the notice for recovery of pending bills in a village in the area,were beaten up by the villagers. The officials registered an FIR at Bewar police station against the villagers on Monday.
In another incident,the villagers pelted Asrohi power sub-station with stones after electricity supply was stopped to the villages due to non-payment of bills.
According to districts power officials,the district has pending electricity bills of about Rs 70 crore. Executive engineer V P Katheria said some bills have not been paid for as long as ten years. The officials had stopped the supply of electricity to as many as 57 villages,which had made no or negligible payments till March 31,but the government has now ordered them to restore the electricity supply to all the villages.
The recovery was to be completed by March 31,but now the deadline has been postponed to April 15.
Katheria says the villagers were not willing to pay the bills as they think the government will waive them off. We are telling them that there is no such promise made by the government. Even if the electricity may be given free to them in future,there was no promise about waiving off the pending electricity bills, he said.
Katheria added that the government has already waived off the interest on pending bills used for household purpose and for operating tubewells. The officials are now holding awareness camps in the villages to persuade villagers to pay up.