Even though the electricity consumers in Maharashtra will not get relief in inflated bills received during lockdown, the state government proposes to assume a burden of Rs 30,411 crore to give relief to agriculture consumers whose arrears are pending for a long time.
This was announced by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in his budget proposals for 2021-22.
The government has provided 33 percent concession to farmers of pending electricity bills and if the farmers pay 50 per cent of the remaining arrears by March 2022, the additional 50 per cent of the remaining amount will be waived off. "Rs 30,411 crore will be waived off, which is 66 per cent of the original pending bills of 44.37 lakh farmers,’’ said Pawar.
Pawar’s announcement came days after he had instructed the state run power distribution company MahaVitaran to immediately stop disconnection of power till the issue of pending arrears is discussed in the state legislature. The BJP had alleged that power connections of nearly 3.5 lakh farmers in the state had been allegedly disconnected over unpaid bills.
The MdahaVitaran’s total arrears from various consumers, including agriculture, industrial, commercial and residential, have surged to over Rs 69,000 crore. Of the Rs 69,000 crore, as high as Rs 45,000 crore arrears are pending from agriculture consumers.
Further, Pawar has assured that after the recovery of arrears the MahaVitaran will spend the money for strengthening electricity infrastructure.