Farmers to pay lesser penalty
THE STATE Government today admitted that compounding fee charged against non-payment of electricity bill by farmers was excessively high. The Government, therefore, is contemplating to reduce the fee to a reasonable level.india Updated: Mar 07, 2006 12:31 IST
THE STATE Government today admitted that compounding fee charged against non-payment of electricity bill by farmers was excessively high. The Government, therefore, is contemplating to reduce the fee to a reasonable level.
However, Energy Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya denied that any farmer has been sent to jail for non-payment of electricity bill. Not convinced with the Minister’s reply the entire Opposition staged a walkout. It accused the State Government of harassing the farmers for compounding of non-paid electricity bills.
The problems being faced by farmers in north-west Madhya Pradesh due to erratic power supply and snapped lines was raised in the Assembly today.
Mr Satyadev Katare (Cong), who raised the matter through a call attention notice, said the farmers are burdened with huge bills. Students appearing in annual examinations are also facing problems as power supply was available for just 3 to 4 hours a day, he added.
Energy Minister of the state Kailash Vijayvargiya, in his reply, said on an average three-phase supply was being maintained for four hours and single-phase supply for eight-and-a-half hours in Bhind district.
In his written reply to a question from Congress MLA Ramniwas Rawat, Vijayvergiya said that till January 31 in the year 2005-06, cases were registered against 13,920 farmers under section 135 of the MP Electricity Act, 2003 for non-payment of electricity bills and an amount of Rs 219.76 lakh realised from them as compounding fee. Cases of 7,252 farmers were presented before the court as well.
Raising a supplementary, Ramniwas Rawat asked the Minister to exempt farmers from compounding fee against non-paid electricity bills. The Minister replied that the provisions of the Act provide for compounding of non-paid bills and not exemption of payment of the bill.
He further said that the compounding fee as realised from defaulting consumers was a little too high and the State Government was