M A I N   N E W S

Power sop in Punjab
Jangveer Singh/GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Amritsar, Dec 10
With an eye on the forthcoming elections, the Punjab Cabinet at a meeting presided over by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, restored free power available to Scheduled Caste and Below Poverty Line families for domestic consumption to 200 units per month.

This was reduced to 100 units per month following the recommendations of the Sukhbir-Kalia committee in January 2010. This means the government will have to double the Rs 350 crore annual subsidy on account of this concession to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited.

Sources said the latest concession has been given to blunt criticism from the Congress that the government had halved the power subsidy being given to the poor.

The number of households which will benefit from subsidised power is now 15 lakh. The figure constitutes 35 per cent of the state’s population.

In another major decision, the government decided not to recover the arrears of tubewell bills from the farmers for the period during which the free power facility was not given to them. The Cabinet reiterated the SAD-BJP government’s commitment to continue the free power facility for tubewell connections for farmers as well as for domestic consumption for poor households.

Members of various farmer unions who had blocked the busy Amritsar-Jalandhar highway at Beas for the past five days, called off their agitation in the evening today after the state government accepted their demands.

Notably, the protesting farmers were demanding acceptance of their two main demands- 200 units of free power for landless farmers and waiving of power bills amounting to Rs 357 crore.

As soon as Amritsar SSP (rural) Gurmeet Chauhan announced the outcome of the talks held in Chandigarh between CM Parkash Singh Badal and the farmers’ representatives, the protesters called off their strike. This led to resumption of services on the Amritsar-Jalandhar highway. 

Poll bonanza

200 units a month free power to poor restored

Recovery of the arrears of tubewell bills from the farmers waived





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