The Telangana government on Wednesday said it would go for one-time settlement of dues of panchayats and municipalities to state-run electricity organisations and warned that henceforth heads of local bodies will be ‘punished’ for non-payment of bills on time. Chief Minister K Chandrasekar Rao, who presided over a review meeting on the power sector, said the government will bear the expenditure for the supply of free power to farmers and for the lift irrigation projects and a special grant will be made in the budget for the purpose.
Rao suggested that solar power, available at a cheaper rate, should be procured to meet the heavy demand due to the Lift Irrigation schemes and asked the officials to invite tenders for 1000 MW of solar power. The review meeting was held on the eve of the implementation of Letter of Credit system for power purchases from August 1 as mandated by the Centre, an official release said.
Noting that gram panchayats and municipalities have to pay “heavy power dues”, Rao said the government would go for a one-time settlement of all the dues till date. “Dues of electricity organisations will be bought to zero level. Discipline should come in as far as usage of the street lights are concerned in the villages and towns. Ensure that no street light is on during the day time, the release quoted the chief minister as having said.
He said if the bills were not paid on time, the Sarpanch and the Village secretary in villages and the chairperson and commissioners in municipalities will be punished, but did not elaborate. He assured that electricity organisations will be paid their bills every month by government departments and all support would be extended to them.
The government will also stand guarantee to the electricity organisations to raise funds for strengthening them,” Rao assured..