Mumbai: The Maharashtra Government on Wednesday exempted farmers from paying fines on pending power bills.
Maharashtra’s Power Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule announced that the state cabinet has decided to exempt all fines and interests of farmers and urged them to pay their pending bills to get uninterrupted power supply. He said farmers will be asked to pay their original bills initially and added that pending bills can be paid in five installments over the next one year. More than 19 crore rupees power bill is pending. A sum of Rs.8100 croress is marked as interest on these bills.
The total amount to be recovered is an estimated Rs. 1100 crores. However, if pending bills are more than Rs.30,000, they can repay this in ten installments.
Representative farmers’ bodies are on a mass protest over a demand for a loan waiver, besides other demands. On Wednesday, they planned to lock the offices of the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) across the state as a part of their protest against the disconnection of power connections of agriculture pumps for non-payments of bills.
Earlier on October 19, the Maharashtra Government released Rs.4,000 crores under the first phase of the farm loan waiver scheme. It is expected to benefit more than eight lakh farmers of the state.