Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 2
Agitating farmers’ ‘Kisan Sansad’ on Monday passed a resolution against the ‘Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 or 2021’ and demanded that it should be withdrawn immediately.
The parallel ‘Parliament session” also “directed” the Government “not to table this Bill or any other Bill containing similar provisions in this or subsequent sessions of the Parliament”.
“Electricity being a basic resource for rural production and processing including by farmers, cottage industries, for health, education, and other civic services, the policy should be to provide free, high quality, regular supply of electricity, to enable rural people and farmers to benefit from the same,” it said, following deliberations on the policy directions and perspectives driving the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020, and the specific provisions of the Bill.
A statement issued by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha read: “Whereas Electricity Amendment Bill 2021 has not been put out into the public domain by the Government and having received an assurance from the Government delegation on 30th December 2020 that the Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 will be withdrawn as per the demands put forth by our farmers’ movement led by Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the House notes with shock and dismay that the Government has reneged on its promise of not tabling this or similar Bill whereas such a Bill is listed for Business in the monsoon session”.
“Electricity as a form of energy is a national resource and should be seen as a basic entitlement of all especially the poor and marginalised. The Bill will impact tariff on all activities in rural areas by farmers, whether it is shops or dairy farming or flour grinders or other small enterprises, as they would get exposed to commercial charges,” the statement said.
“Such privatisation would make electricity—which is a basic service that should be accessible to all citizens—costlier for ordinary consumers, and that the quality of supply to rural areas and for agricultural sector could become worse with the reforms embedded in the Amendment Bill.”
“Farmers will end up paying large bills or face disconnection by the DISCOMS, and that in the new regime, delays, and arrears will be run up against farmers and other ordinary consumers; and all of this will be a death knell to crores of farmers who are dependent on groundwater for irrigation,” the statement said.
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