Home minister RR Patil slammed the state power department at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday over the latter’s decision to snap power connections of defaulting farmers.
Three water supply schemes in Patil’s hometown Tasgaon in Sangli have got notices from the state power company, Mahavitaran leading to unrest among farmers.
Patil’s criticism against the department demanding a longer notice period by the power company came on the day that deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar got back charge of the power and finance departments after his recent resignation drama.
The home minister pointed out that the power company’s decision to penalise farmers had, in many areas, completely cut off water supply to the villages including water for domestic use. He said if the collectors were informed of the decision to be taken by the power company at least they could make alternate arrangements like sending tankers to these villages.
“Patil lost his temper with the power department as he felt that this could lead to a serious law and order situation in rural areas. Pawar didn’t say anything but Ajay Mehta, MD of Mahavitaran, defended his company policy,” said a senior minister. The policy of penalising defaulters to ensure that the state is load-shedding free by the year end was taken by Pawar earlier in the year.
Patil’s criticism has surprised many in the government. “He could have settled the issue with Pawar separately,” said an NCP minister.