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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Maharashtra: BJP stages protests across state against ‘inflated’ power bills

The BJP urged Power Minister Nitin Raut to waive the inflated bills or give subsidies. “The energy minister had announced free power up to 100 units. But now he has withdrawn the decision. And made it compulsory for everybody to pay,” he said.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Updated: November 24, 2020 11:27:23 am
Maharashtra: BJP stages protests across state against ‘inflated’ power billsA panel of BJP and NCP was defeated by the Shiv Sena in state BJP president Chandrakant Patil's native village in Khanapur Gram Panchayat in Kolhapur district. (File)

The BJP on Monday held demonstrations at nearly 2,000 places across Maharashtra to protest against ‘inflated’ electricity bills. Party activists assembled in 36 districts to hold demonstrations and burn electricity bills.

The party said it will intensify the agitation if the state government fails to withdraw the inflated bills.

Thousands of party workers assembled at the venues to participate in the day-long protest. The agitation was led by state party president Chandrakant Patil at Karad, general secretary and former power minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule at Nagpur and Mumbai BJP chief Mangal Prabhat Lodha in Mumbai. Party general secretary Devyani Farande led the protest in Nashik. Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Praveen Darekar staged demonstrations at Parbhani.

“The party will continue the agitation if the government fails to intervene and give relief to people. We want the government to withdraw the inflated bills. Amid Covid-19 that led to lockdown, lakhs of people lost their livelihood. Industries were closed. Earnings of people dropped. How does the government expect them to pay huge amount for power which they have not utilised? It’s a fraud,” Patil said.

The BJP urged Power Minister Nitin Raut to waive the inflated bills or give subsidies. “The energy minister had announced free power up to 100 units. But now he has withdrawn the decision. And made it compulsory for everybody to pay,” he said.

Darekar led the protest at Jintur Road in Parbhani in Marathwada. Party activists burnt electricity bills. “The power minister has taken ten meetings. But still he has not been able to find a solution. Consumers should get immediate relief and not coerced into paying steep electricity bills,” he said.

“The power portfolio is with the Congress which is at loggerheads with the Shiv Sena. Despite being alliance partners, the Congress and Sena are in conflict. In the tussle for oneupmanship the power sector is suffering,” he added.

Bawankule said, “Today, the MVA government is not giving new agriculture pump connections to farmers citing electricity dues. This is highly insensitive. During the BJP government, farmers were never subjected to such harassment. Despite pending bills, we provided connections for agriculture pumps. There were clear directives that farmers’ demands should be fulfilled immediately.”

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