New Delhi/ Lucknow, Nov 6 (PTI) Voicing concern over alleged irregularities in electricity billing in Uttar Pradesh, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Friday urged the Yogi Adityanath government to act against those responsible for it and demanded that the rate of power for farmers be halved immediately.
The Congress general secretary in-charge Uttar Pradesh also demanded that relief be given to weavers, artisans and small-scale industries in electricity consumption.
In a statement, she said that there was a 'terror' of rising electricity bills and of meters in the whole of Uttar Pradesh.
Noting there has been a big rise in electricity rates in the last few years, Priyanka Gandhi said that in the last eight years, the rates for rural household consumers have increased by 500 per cent, urban domestic electricity rates have risen by 84 per cent and for farmers the rates have increased by 126 per cent.
She said Uttar Pradesh has become a 'laboratory' for electricity meters which have been found to run many times faster than they should.
Even in houses that are locked, a bill of up to Rs seven-eight thousand is coming, she alleged.
In many districts of the state, it was also seen that bills came without electricity meter being installed, she said.
The public is already reeling due to price rise, the business of small enterprises has collapsed, farmers' crops are not being sold, they are not getting help in the event of floods, hailstorms and natural disasters, crop insurance scheme has become a source of income for big companies, and in such a situation, electricity prices are constantly increasing and consumers can no longer bear the brunt of irregularities, Priyanka Gandhi said.
She said that in the COVID-19 pandemic, what should have happened was that people should have been given relief by reducing the rates of electricity in a big way.
Electricity bills of farmers should have been waived and weavers-artisans, small-scale industries should have been given concession in electricity bills.
She demanded that the electricity rates for farmers be halved, the truth about irregularities in metering be brought to the fore, those responsible for it be punished and weavers-artisans as well as small-scale industries be given relief in electricity consumption.
Later, in a tweet, Priyanka Gandhi lashed out at the Uttar Pradesh government over the alleged arrest of farmers in Saharanpur for stubble burning.
'Are only farmers responsible for pollution? When will action be taken against those who are really responsible for pollution?' she said.
'Farmers' vote -- legal, farmer's paddy -- legal, farmers' straw -- illegal?' she tweeted.
Priyanka Gandhi also thanked Congress workers for ensuring the release of farmers allegedly arrested in Saharanpur.
Uttar Pradesh Power Minister Shrikant Sharma termed the Congress leader's statement as 'politically motivated' and said the BJP government brought the state's power sector back on track in the last three and a half years.
The statement comes from a party that kept the country in darkness for 70 years, he alleged.
Like the power sector, the present Uttar Pradesh government has also brought the state's development back on track, the minister said.
The power sector was facing losses due to the wrong policies, costly agreements and economic irregularities of the BSP, the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, Sharma claimed.
Leave alone the state, the Congress was not able provide electricity even in Rae Bareli and Amethi. During the BJP government, 1.38 crore houses spread over 1.30 lakh hamlets have been electrified, he said.
Under the current dispensation, villages are getting 18 hour power supply, tehsil headquarters 20 hours supply and district headquarters 24 hours uninterrupted supply, Sharma said.
On complaints regarding power meters, the minister said authorities are looking into complaints immediately and resolving them.
He also said that action is being taken against billing agencies in case of wrong bills. PTI ASK SAB ANB ANB