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Landless hold rally, demand free power as promised

Written by: Staff
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Chandigarh, Apr 4 (UNI) Hundreds of leaders farmers from Punjab heretoday held a protest rally, demanding free power to the weaker sections as promised by the ruling Congress during the assembly elections four years back.

Holding red flags under the banner of 'Pendu Mazdoor Union', the landless farmers, mainly Dalits, demanded implementation of a notification vide which the domestic power up to 50 units would be supplied free to the weaker sections.

Union president Tarsem Peter said on the occasion that the poor consumers with 1000 watt capacity connection be also included in the category for which the government had notified free electricity supply.

The poor consumers with only 500 watt capacity connections comprised less than 19 per cent of the weaker sections in the state, Mr Peter said.

The speakers at the rally also condemned the Amarinder Singh government for the arrests of several men and women of the poor families who had refused to pay the electricity bills. ''Instead of implementing the notification for free electricity supply to us, the government is arresting men, women and children of those who were not able to pay the electricity bills,'' Mr Peter said, while addressing the rally.

He cited an example of Lande ke village in Moga district where three women and an eight-month-old child were kept behind the bars for three months after a false case was lodged against them. ''It was the power of the agitated people of the region which forced the police to free these poor captives,'' he said.

The 'Pendu Mazdoor' leaders stated at the rally that the suppressed classes were being denied subsidised electricity, while on the other hand huge concessions were provided to the industry and the multi-national companies.

They also strongly criticised the policies of privatisation of schools, hospitals, transport and the state electricity board. They stated the privatisation policy was being dictated by the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO ''which are snatching the meagre subsidies, opportunities of education and cure from the poor people'', he added.

UNI PS PA PC1848

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