Amid growing resentment among the electricity consumers and strong opposition by BJP, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday instructed the state-run power distribution company MahaVitaran to immediately stop the disconnection of power supply of agriculture and non-agriculture consumers till the issue is discussed in the state legislature.
The MahaVitaran in February has launched the disconnection drive to recover long-pending dues which have surged to a record level of Rs 69,000 crore of which agriculture consumers owe Rs 45,000 crore. Pawar, who holds the planning and finance department, had recently announced that the government has given a relief of Rs 30,000 crore in clearing dues by the agriculture consumers. He had said that the agriculture consumers will have to pay the balance arrears of Rs 15,000 crore and assured that the MahaVitaran will spend money in their respective areas for further strengthening the electricity infrastructure.
However, consumers and BJP stepped up their opposition demanding the withdrawal of disconnection drive. BJP had staged state-wide agitation.
On Tuesday, BJP sat on the Vidhan Bhavan’s entrance and shouted slogans demanding a stoppage of disconnection.
Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis raised the issue in the assembly, stating that there is "a lot of anger" among people across the state over the inflated electricity bills. Lakhs of people have received notices for power supply disconnection, he said.
"Farmers have already suffered big losses due to lockdown and heavy rainfall. Now, they are facing the power supply disconnection crisis,’’ he noted.
Former assembly speaker Nana Patole argued that the on-going disconnection should be stopped immediately. He also demanded the MahaVitaran’s policy of issuing average electricity bills to consumers should also be discontinued.