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Govt flayed over power, tariffs

THE RULING BJP seemed on the defensive against the Opposition onslaught as the House took up a lengthy debate on unscheduled power cuts and frequent hike in power tariffs in the State.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2006 14:09 IST

THE RULING BJP seemed on the defensive against the Opposition onslaught as the House took up a lengthy debate on unscheduled power cuts and frequent hike in power tariffs in the State.

The BJP, which had coined umpteen slogans to highlight the plight of people at the height of power crisis in the State towards the fag end of Digvijay Singh era, was cornered when the Opposition MLAs reminded them of those slogans like

‘Mantri Lal Batti Mein Aur Janta Mombatti Mein’ and their electoral promise to ensure supply of adequate power to people even if it meant bringing power from beneath the earth (Hum Patal Se Bhi Bijli Lanyege) as former chief minister Uma Bharti had said in the House.

The only reply treasury benches had to the Opposition charge of betraying the electorate, particularly, the farmers and the students, was a counter-question as to what the Congress had done in its decade-long rule before them.

And, Congress MLAs were frank enough to admit that they had done nothing and were, therefore, reduced to 38 in the State Assembly but “you would be in even a worse position,” they warned.

Some of the BJP MLAs, who participated in the debate, including Lal Singh Arya and Gajraj Singh unconvincingly claimed that nine-hour three-phase power supply was being maintained in villages and criminal case has not been registered against a single farmer in the State.

The Opposition members, however, charged that farmers were being sent to jail for non-payment of bills, inflated electricity bills were being given to consumers and power supply in rural areas was limited to two to three hours.

Ramlakhan Sharma of the CPM raised the issue of huge money MPSEB has to realise from public undertakings, local bodies, Government institutions, industrialists and even neighbouring states.

He said only poor farmers were penalised for non-payment of bill. If the total pending amount was realised, the MPSEB would be in profit of Rs 1,600 crore, he said.

Congress MLA Arif Aqueel complained of unscheduled power cuts in his constituency — Bhopal (North). Sajjan Singh Verma of the Congress said more than 60,000 transformers were out of order in the State and none seemed concerned for repairing or replacing them. Sukhdev Panse of the Congress said that rabi crop was wilting for lack of irrigation due to non-supply of electricity.

Dr Sunilam of Samajwadi Party said the State Government should compute as to what amount of their income was being spent by the farmers on payment of electricity bills. Seventy five per cent of their total income was spent on payment of electricity bills, he said.

Govind Singh Rajput of the Congress said that all sections of the society were facing problems due to power shortage. Dr Govind Singh and Rajesh Patel, both from the Congress, also participated in the debate. Debate on the issue would continue on Tuesday.

First Published: Jan 03, 2006 14:09 IST