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The state government Thursday announced that power distribution companies will accept the now demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes for electricity bill payment till November 11 midnight.
The announcement came after Union Ministry of Economic Affairs accepted a request the state government made through a letter seeking approval to accept the high denomination currency notes “for a period considered appropriate”. The state government had sent the letter Wednesday and the approval, reportedly, was received later in the day.
“Upon @UPGovt request, GOI allows HDIC to be accepted for payment of Utility services like electricity and water till 11 Nov midnight,” the state government announced through its official Twitter handle.
In the letter sent to Department of Economic Affairs, Sanjay Agarwal, chairman of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd said the per day collection of power distribution companies in Uttar Pradesh range from Rs 70 crore to Rs 160 crore. He further informed that the monthly revenue collected by these discoms is around Rs 3000 crore, which was getting affected.
“Approximately 75 per cent of this revenue is collected by way of cash and approximately 85 per cent of cash revenue constitutes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes. Sudden withdrawal of this money may push the discoms in financial shock and if this situation is allowed to permeate even for a week or 10 days…UP discoms may default on various payments,” wrote Agarwal.
He also quoted that Power Grid Corporation of India has already served notice to the state for “regulation of power supply” if outstanding amount of Rs 915 crore was not cleared by November 14, 2016.
Meanwhile, later in the day, Chief Minsiter Akhilesh Yadav asked Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar to set up more currency exchange centres in Agra and other cities to facilitate foreign tourists.
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“Chief Minister has asked Chief Secretary to coordinate with the banks and ensure that separate counters are opened for foreign tourists especially in places like Agra, Varanasi etc. The step is being taken following reports about inconvenience being caused to foreign tourists at these places due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes,” said a government spokesperson.