Every household to get 300 units of free electricity in Punjab
Chandigarh, Apr 16: The newly-elected AAP government in Punjab has announced that every household in the state will get 300 units of free electricity from July 1. The announcement was made in advertisements published by the state's information and public relations department in various newspapers on Saturday.
Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, on the occasion of completing one month in office, said that except for scheduled caste and backward class families, if electricity consumption exceeds 600 units in two months, then the consumer will have to pay for the entire power usage.
Scheduled Castes, backward castes, below-poverty-line households and freedom fighters currently getting free 200 units each month will now get 300 units of electricity monthly. But if their electricity consumption exceeds 600 units in two months, they will be charged just for over and above 600 units, the chief minister clarified.
"From July 1, 2022, each household in Punjab will get free electricity of 300 units per month. And it will be 600 units for two months," the chief minister said in a video message on Saturday.
Punjab has a two-month billing cycle for power supply. The state's information and public relations department had put out advertisements with the announcement in various newspapers that came out on Saturday morning.
This was one of the major poll promises of the Aam Aadmi Party during the Punjab assembly election. The party's national convener Arvind Kejriwal had promised free electricity of up to 300 units for the state in June last year.
Mann also announced waiving arrears of electricity bills pending till December 31, 2021, of those households having up to a two-kilowatt load. Moreover, he said there would be no increase in the electricity tariff for industrial and commercial consumers while free power to the farming community would continue.
The Punjab chief minister further said his government would ensure round-the-clock electricity supply to every village and town in two to three years. He said that his government would also provide the cheapest electricity in the country to the state's consumers. AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha, in a tweet, said what was promised has been honoured and after Delhi, the people of Punjab will also now get free electricity. Mann had on Thursday said in Jalandhar that "good news" would be announced on April 16.
He had met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the national capital on Tuesday to discuss the modalities of providing free electricity for up to 300 units in Punjab. Kejriwal had also met senior officials of Punjab, including chief secretary Anirudh Tewari, to discuss the issue of free electricity.
However, Congress leaders scoffed at the announcement of the AAP government with party MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira asking Mann why free electricity would be provided from July only and whether power consumers will have to pay the full bill if their consumption exceeds 300 units.
The Bholath MLA, in a tweet, said, "I welcome Bhagwant Mann for fulfilling his promise of 300 units of free electricity but why wait till July 1? Is there an issue of fiscal management? And please clarify if the bill is 301 units will the consumers be charged the full bill? Lastly any move to do away with tubewell subsidy?"
Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring tweeted, "Bhagwant Mann Ji, the Proof of the pudding is in the eating... The truthfulness of your 300 unit free power will be tested in detail and the conditions attached to it... Best of luck to PSPCL who have to survive now, somehow." PTI