In a big development on Thursday, MNS warned of a fierce pan-Maharashtra agitation if the state government failed to waive the inflated electricity bills of consumers till November 23. Addressing the media, MNS spokesperson Bala Nandgaonkar revealed that this decision was taken in the meeting of the party's office-bearers with Raj Thackeray. Accusing the Maharashtra government of cheating 11.5 crore people of the state over the issue of inflated power bills, he appealed to all the people to participate in MNS's agitation.
He also mentioned that MNS workers will be present with consumers if Mahavitaran employees come to cut the electricity connection. It is pertinent to note that MNS supremo Raj Thackeray met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on October 29 in this regard. Nandgaonkar lamented that the government had failed to provide any relief to the consumers despite the MNS president directly approaching NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Earlier on Wednesday, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis called out the government for backtracking from the promise of giving relaxation to the consumers and pointed out that it had even refused to accept a loan from the Centre.
The issue of inflated electricity bills came to the fore during the lockdown period as the power corporation staff were not able to physically record meter readings. MNS supremo Raj Thackeray too had raised this matter in his recent meeting with Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. On November 2, Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut indicated that the state government was planning a 'Diwali bonanza' to ease the woes of the consumers.
However, Raut on Tuesday made it clear that consumers have to pay the full amount of the power bill as it was not possible for Mahavitaran to incur further debt at this stage. Noting that the country's largest electricity distribution utility was already under a debt of Rs. 69,000 crore, he highlighted that the Centre had offered to give a loan at 10.8 percent interest, which he described as "too high". At the same time, the people have been given the option of paying the bill amount in three installments. Moreover, Raut revealed that 69 percent of the outstanding bills have been recovered so far.