March 19, 2021 7:02:45 pm
The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) on Friday threatened to disconnect power supply to the residences of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and several other ministers if the state government did not waive off farmers’ power tariffs incurred during the nationwide lockdown last year.
Across Maharashtra, SSS activists under the leadership of Raju Shetti held demonstrations, stalling the traffic on important state and national highways. The SSS, which has its base in Western Maharashtra, staged protests in Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Baramati.
Members of the farmer rights organisation shouted slogans against the “forcible recovery of power tariff dues from farmers”. Power supply was disconnected after several farmers failed to pay their electricity bills during the lockdown.
Shetti said, “The statewide protests aim to warn the government against adopting coercive tactics to recover payments from farmers. The government should waive off the power tariffs of farmers and poor domestic consumers for the lockdown period. We will intensify the agitation if our demands are not met.”
The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, a public undertaking, recently issued orders to its district branches to recover pending power tariffs.
According to Shetti, over 70 lakh farmers have received notices of power disconnection.
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