Bhagwant Mann likely to make announcement on free electricity on Saturday: The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Chandigarh, April 15

Bhagwant Mann is likely to announce 300 units of electricity free for residents of Punjab on Saturday, exactly a month after he took over as chief minister.

Highly placed sources in the state unit of the Aam Admi Party confirmed the expected development in line with the CM Mann’s announcement during the press conference at Jalandhar on Thursday that ‘On the 16th we will give good news to people of Punjab’.

Mann, along with senior officers of the state, including Chief Secretary Anirudh Tewari, Power Secretary Dilip Kumar and CMD of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), had a meeting with AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal earlier this week to discuss the modalities of doling. out the scheme of free electricity to residents of the state.

Free electricity was one of the first promises made by Kejriwal on June 29, 2021 when he announced that besides waiving the pending amounts on the old domestic bills, the AAP government would provide free electricity to every household without any discrimination.

In the context of the state already having an outstanding debt of Rs 3 lakh crore, additional subsidy is being seen as a worrisome development for the already crippled state finances. Free 300 units of power for domestic households works out to approximately Rs 5000 crore annually. The state already provides free power to the agricultural sector, and 200 units free to all Scheduled Castes, backward castes and below poverty line (BPL) households (a scheme introduced in 2016). In addition, the government has promised a stipend of Rs 1,000 per month to all women above 18.

The power demand in Punjab has already touched about 8,000 MW. The demand soars to nearly 15,000 MW during the planting of the paddy crop. While towns and cities are witnessing a comparatively better power supply, rural sector, all across the state is witnessing long power cuts, particularly, during the day time.

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