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Channi may announce major relief for power consumers today

"The decision has been left to the council of ministers, who will be meeting at 2 pm on Monday and take a final call," the source said.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: November 1, 2021 7:59:15 am
Relief to power consumers had also been discussed in the first Cabinet meeting chaired by Channi after taking over as the CM.

The Punjab government is planning to provide relief to power consumers in the state by either slashing the price of every unit or providing 300 units free of cost to every household.

Sources confirmed that the government was looking at various options and an announcement may be in the offing. “The decision has been left to the council of ministers, who will be meeting at 2 pm on Monday and take a final call,” the source said.

Punjab Chief Minister, Charanjit Singh Channi, tweeted on Sunday that his government will announce a historical decision on Monday at 4 pm.

Punjab is one of the few states where a unit of electricity is considered to be the highest in the country. A domestic consumer pays Rs 8, including taxes, for every unit of power consumed in the state. The high prices of electricity have often been scoffed at by both local residents as well as Opposition parties, with expensive electricity likely to become a huge political issue in the state in the upcoming elections.

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The decision to provide relief to consumers comes after a nudge by AICC leader Rahul Gandhi, whom Channi had met three days ago in Delhi. During the meeting, Rahul had apparently asked the CM to expedite decision-making as the government had already completed one month.

Also, cheaper power was one of the 18-point agendas of the party high command that had been handed over to former CM Amarinder Singh when he was sworn to power in 2017. The Congress high command had later asked Channi to fulfill those agendas after he took over as the CM of the state. On Saturday, Channi had ordered the termination of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with GVK Thermal Plant, Goindwal Sahib, and has served a termination notice to the thermal plant.

Relief to power consumers had also been discussed in the first Cabinet meeting chaired by Channi after taking over as the CM. Channi then had asked his Cabinet colleagues to study the issue and come up with suggestions on whether the government should slash the price per unit or give 300 units free of electricity of cost.

Incidentally, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have also promised free units of electricity to the electorate if their parties are voted to power in 2022. Since Channi cannot wait to extend the relief after 2022, his government will have to announce relief soon to stay in contention for the upcoming elections.

 

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