Pre-poll bonanza: Punjab govt waives water bill arrears

Punjab cabinet also announces free power to water supply schemes in rural areas with effect from Oct 1
Chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi burning copies of unpaid power bills in Chamkaur Sahib on Monday. (HT photo)
Chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi burning copies of unpaid power bills in Chamkaur Sahib on Monday. (HT photo)
Published on Oct 19, 2021 01:04 AM IST
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In a pre-poll populist move, the Punjab government on Monday decided to waive water bill arrears in rural and urban areas and free power to rural water supply schemes with effect from October 1.

The decision that will put a financial burden of about 1,800 crore on the state, was taken during a cabinet meeting, chaired by chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi.

The cabinet also gave a nod to reduce service charges on all rural water supply schemes by 70%, from 166 to 50 per household per month in the villages.

Similarly, the cabinet decided to reduce water usage charges to 50 per month for domestic connections of all categories having plot size above 125 square yards in municipal councils and nagar panchayats and municipal corporations.

Plots up to 125 square yards in urban areas have already been exempted from paying water and sewerage user charges.

These concessions would benefit nearly 25 lakh families living in urban areas. It was decided in the meeting to provide funds through budgetary support to settle outstanding arrears of 1,168 crore of power bills of rural water supply schemes, according to an official statement.

Addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting, the CM said the state would facilitate the Centre for acquiring land for the Patti-Makhu rail link and it will be ensured that adequate compensation is given to the farmers and landowners.

Deputy chief ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and OP Soni and cabinet ministers Manpreet Singh Badal, Aruna Chaudhary, Vijay Inder Singla and Pargat Singh were also present in the press conference.

Nod to recruit group-D employees on regular basis

In another decision, the cabinet gave clearance to recruit Group-D employees on a regular basis. He slammed the previous governments for hiring people for these posts on an outsource basis.

On a query about the status of contractual employees, Channi said the state government is already in the process to finalize a policy in this regard to safeguard the interest of such employees.

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Saturday, November 27, 2021