PDP’s Bukhari calls for extension in Power Amnesty Scheme


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MLA Amira Kadal & former minister Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari

MLA Amira Kadal & former minister Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari

Former minister and MLA Amira Kadal, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari Monday appealed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to extend the timeline of Power Amnesty Scheme by March 31, 2017, so that the consumers are in a position to pay their pending power bills voluntarily.

While the revenue collection is essential for the Power Development Department to ensure a hassle-free power supply to its consumers more particularly during winters, Bukhari, however, said the government must also take into consideration difficulties faced by the people in Kashmir during last five months. These difficulties, he said, got coupled by the issues that surfaced after demonetization decision taken by the union government.

He said the PDP led government’s move to grant Power Amnesty to the consumers last year providing a waiver of 100 per cent surcharge on pending electricity charges is laudable but a substantial number of domestic consumers, sick trade and industrial units for various reasons could not avail the benefits of this scheme.

“In view of these difficulties faced by the people, I appeal the Honb’le Chief Minister to order for extension in the deadline of Power Amnesty Scheme upto March 31, 2017 for domestic consumers, sick trade and industrial units across Kashmir,” the former minister demanded.

In addition to amnesty on surcharge, Bukhari also called for a 50 per cent waiver in pending bills for the marginalised communities and BPL consumers who presently avail the PDD services on flat rate of Rs 325 (0.5 KW) Rs 490 (0.75  KW) Rs 644 (1.0 KW)  for the last five months.

“Most of the consumers especially the BPL in Kashmir are not in a position to pay their bills even against the flat rate of the department not to talk of paying the surcharge on their pending bills. As a goodwill gesture towards this economically downtrodden section of society, the Honb’le Chief Minister should expand the ambit of power amnesty and grant a 50 % waiver on the pending bills of such consumers,” the MLA Amirakadal demanded.

Bukhari said that the tariff realization on concessional rates is bound to improve the revenue collection of the department which in long run will benefit the consumers in the state.

He also urged the government to take measures towards tariff rationalisation by identifying barriers and chalking out suitable ways to achieve tariff rationalisation by the Power Development Department. “While bringing the much needed power reforms, the state government must chalk out a plan to insulate the financially vulnerable and marginal consumers from sudden impact of tariff hikes from time to time,” Bukhari observed.

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