Sangrur admn asks panchayats to pay water supply power bills
Sarpanches associated with the Panchayat Union Sangrur opposed the recent orders of state government directing village panchayats to pay electricity bills of water supply schemes from the grants of 14th Finance Commission or other sources.
In a letter dated March 5, 2021, issued by Sangrur block development and panchayat officer (BDPO), the panchayats of the block were asked to pay water supply electricity bills up to July 2018 under one time settlement (OTS) scheme. However, sarpanches of Sangrur block announced not to pay the bills and said that they will stage protests across the district from March 27. On Thursday, they held a protest outside the office of Sangrur BDPO.
“The panchayats have received grants from the central government for development projects under 14th Finance Commission. Though the bills were not paid for many years, the government ordered us to pay these which are in lakhs. We will not pay these bills and the grants will be used for development works in villages,” said Jasvir Singh Channa, Sangrur block chief of the panchayat union, whose wife Rajwinder Kaur is a sarpanch of Fatehgarh Channa.
“We will not use these funds for the payment of pending electricity bills. The protest will be intensified across the state as sarpanches associated with the Congress party are also part of the agitation,” said Harbhajan Singh Duggan, whose wife Surinder Kaur is a sarpanch of Duggan village.
Sangrur BDPO Lenin Garg said that he issued a letter to the panchayats of Sangrur block as per directions of higher authorities. “The sarpanch concerned is chairman of the water supply and sanitation committee who is responsible for the electricity bill payment. There are 73 villages in Sangrur block and the bill payment of the past five years is pending which is around ₹1.5 crore. They have been asked to pay a part of the pending bills,” added Garg.
Sangrur additional deputy commissioner (development) Rajinder Batra said that the electricity bill payment is a very small part of the sanctioned grants. In case of default, the power corporation will disconnect the electricity connections.