From collection of electricity dues that are becoming a burden on the poor to providing more jobs, and conducting panchayat elections on time, a majority of Congress MLAs met Chief Minister Hemant Soren for the first time since the government was formed in Jharkhand and apprised him of problems they face as public representatives.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led government will announce its first year’s achievements on December 29.
Sources in the Congress Legislative Party said the party’s Jharkhand in-charge, R P N Singh, arranged the meeting.
An MLA who was part of the meeting said: “One major issue was the manner of collection of electricity dues from the poor. The Covid-19 pandemic has already broken their backs, and people in various constituencies are feeling overburdened by notices served by the electricity department on dues. We asked the CM to go a little slow on this.”
With pending dues running into nearly Rs 5,600 crore, the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) is carrying out outages in various parts of the state. Recently, the Union Power Ministry wrote to the Jharkhand government and asked it to pay the dues to DVC, otherwise as per agreement the RBI would deduct Jharkhand’s money in four equal installments.
At a recent departmental review meeting, Soren had asked for self-reliance in power generation.
Another Congress MLA said that there was a problem with the panchayat elections due next month. The legislators said works in the panchayats would come to a halt.
The discussion came on the back of a letter from Panchayati Raj director Aditya Ranjan to all deputy commissioners, stating that panchayat polls could not be completed on time due to the pandemic. “As a result, for future term the constitution of three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions is not possible,” the letter stated.
It stated that after the end of the tenure, the seats will be understood as empty and further directions will be given to them. This has led to uncertainty among people in rural areas.
Another major issue discussed was officers not listening to the legislators, one MLA who took part in the meeting said. The MLA said: “There will always be a problem between the political leaders and bureaucrats. But we have apprised him (Soren) that many officers are working as they used during the previous regime, which needs to be changed.”
The issue of minority rights in the state also cropped during the discussion, as did illegal mining of sand in Dhanbad area, it is learnt.
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