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According to an unprecedented order of District Magistrate (DM), Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh that came on Wednesday, September 18, if a resident has not paid his/her electricity bill, then no application will be entertained relating to any welfare scheme of government, including distribution of subsidised ration.
All key officials of the district administration were instructed by the letter (ef 2162 dated 18/09/19) of the DM that from October 1 next, any resident failing to produce his latest ‘remit paid slip’ of electricity bill will not be entertained by the state government.
The order says that the state’s power crisis has taken a turn for worse due to heavy revenue losses to UP Power Corporation, one of the reasons being a significant number of consumers failing to pay their electricity dues.
“Subsequently it has been decided by the government that while granting benefits in welfare schemes or processing documents such as birth certificate or driving licence, it would be mandatory for the applicant to produce the ‘remit paid slip’ of electricity bill,” the letter of the DM reveals.
Such orders have been passed by several other districts including Gorakhpur administration in order to expedite recovery of electricity dues.
According to Gaurav Verma, Chief Development Officer (CDO) of Jaunpur, the new order’s aim is to improve the financial condition of UP Power Corporation, which, in recent years, has incurred heavy losses.
“Other districts like Gorakhpur have implemented such orders. People are now paying their electricity bills and recovery of dues have improved,” India Today quoted Verma as saying.
While holding a statewide video conferencing with DMs last Monday, Chief Secretary of UP suggested that there should be innovative measures to be taken to recover electricity dues. For the past few months, the top officials and engineers of Power Corporation have been reiterating that the department would incur very heavy losses if government does not take stringent steps to recover dues from the public.
At present, there is a financial crisis in the Power Corporation due to around 30 per cent loss in recovery.
However, on the other hand, spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party IP Singh said that although recovery should be made, the government cannot deprive people of their basic welfare rights. “What about those who neither have a home nor an electricity connection. Besides, if the government would first seek a remit slip even for issuing a birth certificate or granting a bowl of ration, then it would pose a big question on the relevance of a socialist state,” said Singh.
A senior official of the UP government, reacting to this statement, claimed that the opposition leaders are making a mountain out of a molehill, whereas the government’s only intent is to improve power supply in the state by introducing this new scheme.
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