Currently, the state government is paying the monthly electricity bill of 26,051 consumers from drought-affected areas.
Mumbai: The state government has directed Mahavitaran (state-owned electricity company) not to disconnect power supply in the drought-hit areas of the state. However, the state is yet to pay 95 per cent of the total amount pending.
The state government has paid Rs 38.78 crore to Mahavitaran in order to restore the tap water supply scheme in drought-affected areas of the state.
However, the amount is only five per cent of the total arrears of Rs 775.6 crore of the electricity bill for the last ten years.
Currently, the state government is paying the monthly electricity bill of 26,051 consumers from drought-affected areas. Officials said that the energy department would discontinue the free power supply after June as the state government had said that they would pay the monthly bill till June 2019 only.
Sources in the department said that the people in rural areas were reluctant to pay their bills, which had forced the company to disconnect electricity supply.
The officials said that the government was running 29,228 schemes in drought-affected areas.
The government had paid Rs 38.78 crore of the five per cent till December 2018.
The official said, “We have revived 3,200 discontinued water supply schemes on a temporary basis in order to provide relief. Besides, 120 water supply schemes, which had been permanently discontinued, have also been restored.”
The state is paying Rs 44 crore a month as electricity bill to Mahavitaran.
The government has earmarked Rs 352 crore to pay for the monthly electricity bill of the water supply scheme from November 2018 to June 2019.
Out of the Rs 352 crores, the government distributed Rs 141.99 crore in the first leg.
As a part of the relief measures, the agriculture consumers in drought-affected areas were provided 33.5 per cent additional concession in electricity tariff.
The government had earmarked Rs 673.41 crores for 36.17 lakh agriculture consumers.
Asked why electricity bills were not being collected and arrears had reached Rs 775.6 crores, Arvind Singh, principal secretary of the state energy department, said, “Due to the poor financial status of local bodies, they are unable to pay the electricity bills leading to the disconnection.”