Govt, Oppn clash over energy meters

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Guwahati, Nov 12 (UNI) The Assam Assembly today witnessed clashes between the state Government and the Opposition over installation of digital electricity meter with treasury bench insisting it as a reform measure, while the latter accused of ''vested interest''.

To calm the agitated Assembly, which saw heated discussion over two hours, Assam Power Minister Pradyut Bardoloi announced that he would publish a white paper on the controversial issue within this session, which will end by February next.

The digital electricity meters, introduced by the Assam Government, are fast emerging as a political issue and the Government had rejected all demands of scrapping the installation of meters.

''We are introducing a new technology, plug the loopholes of distribution and raise more revenue to financially strengthen the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB), but instead some of our own employees are feeding the media and Opposition political parties for their own vested interest,'' said Mr Bardoloi replying to the debate.

Earlier, bringing the matter in the Zero Hour, AGP Member Girin Barua, BJP leader Misison Ranjan Das and Ranjit Dutta alleged that vested interest was the dominating factor behind the purchase of huge number of digital meters which according to them were ''faulty and showing huge bills''.

''These meters came as part of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) package to revive the ASEB. It is of the highest standard, implemented in various states of India. But the sudden hullabaloo on the issue is nothing but the handiwork of a small section of ASEB workers who have been manipulating the readings of the old electro magnetic meter and looting money,'' Mr Bardoloi said.

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