(Sikander Maluka says weaker sections that had been given free power facility by the
SAD-BJP govt had started receiving bills)
Chandigarh, February 8 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today condemned the Congress government for withdrawing the partial free power facility and sending power bills to scheduled caste and backward class consumers who had been given free power for domestic consumption by the previous SAD-BJP government.
Condemning this anti-people move, former minister Sikander Singh Maluka said instead of giving relief to the dalits by waiving off their loans as demanded by them, the Congress government was doing away with free power facility extended to them by the SAD-BJP government. He said more than one lakh such consumers had already received bills and more bills were being distributed in this regard.
Maluka said the previous government had extended facility of 200 units per month free of cost to scheduled caste and backward class consumers. “The Congress party had promised to increase the scope of this facility but instead of doing this, it has started sending bills to SC and backward class consumers for power consumed by them”.
Stating that the government had effectively discontinued the partial free power facility given to the dalits and weaker sections including below poverty line consumers and freedom fighter families, the Akali leader said the State electricity utility was coming up with various excuses to justify this anti-poor exercise. He said consumers had started receiving power bills of thousands of rupees when they were earlier paying only around Rs 200 per month.
Maluka said this was not all. He said the Congress government had not revised the notification under which dalits and weaker sections were receiving partial free power. He said this was being done deliberately as the government wanted to end this scheme and escape its social responsibility towards the weaker sections. He said the SAD however would not allow this injustice to succeed. “We will come up with an action programme to force the government to jettison this move and continue giving partial free power to the weaker sections as was being done during SAD-BJP tenure”, he added.