Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis slammed the Maharashtra government for its refusal to provide relief on inflated electricity bills. Calling out the government for backtracking from the promise of giving relaxation to the consumers, he mentioned that BJP leaders had collected a list of hefty power bills. The former Maharashtra CM alleged that no such bill had been rectified.
Lauding the Mahavitaran (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited) as one of the best electricity distribution utilities in the country, he reckoned that its financial viability will not be affected if the state government decides to borrow up to Rs.1,500-2,000 crore to help the consumers. Moreover, he noted that the Maharashtra government had even refused to accept a loan from the Centre in this regard. On this occasion, he also hit out at the Maha Vikas Aghadi for blaming the previous government and the Centre for the present situation.
Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis remarked, "In a way, this government betrayed the people. I still remember the day that the state Cabinet met. After the Cabinet meeting, their leaders announced that we have decided to give relaxation in the electricity bills. They pat their own backs and got their hoardings done. The electricity bills are inflated to an unprecedented extent. We put forth the list of such bills. Even the poorest of the poor person received such a hefty bill for three months which he will not get even after using all electrical appliances 24/7 for 5 years."
"In the recent period, Kirit Somaiya and Ashish Shelar gathered all these bills and pointed out that there has been irregularity. No one's bill was rectified. No relaxation was given. I am of the firm belief that Maharashtra's distribution utility ranks among one of the most strong distribution utilities in the country. So, there will not be an adverse impact on it even if a loss of Rs.1,500-2,000 crore is incurred. You can borrow. The Centre was ready to provide a loan going beyond the balance sheet but you did not accept it," he added.
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 per cent 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 instalments. Moreover, Raut revealed that 69 per cent of the outstanding bills have been recovered so far.