'We promised, we delivered': Punjab govt waives pending water, power bills
The Punjab Cabinet also decided to reduce water usage charges to Rs 50 per month for domestic connections of all categories having plot size above 125 square yards in municipal councils and Nagar Panchayats and Municipal Corporations.
Chandigarh: Ahead of the crucial Punjab Assembly polls, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi-led government has decided to waive arrears of water supply charges in urban areas and pending electricity bills of rural water supply schemes in villages.
The decision that will put a financial burden of about Rs 1,800 crore on the state, was taken in a Cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday.
“We are waiving water bill arrears of Rs 700 crore of all cities," the Chief Minister said at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting here. Later, in a tweet, the Chief Minister said that his government has delivered its promise of waiving unpaid electricity payments of the people of Punjab.
We Promised and We Delivered
The waiver of unpaid electricity payments has commenced, as promised to the people of Punjab. The resolution to waive the arrears of all Punjab users with a 2 KW load has been put into effect today by burning copies of these bills. pic.twitter.com/TDLKZyMZLD — Charanjit S Channi (@CHARANJITCHANNI) October 18, 2021
The Cabinet decided to waive all the outstanding arrears of water supply and sewerage charges for domestic connections, said an official statement later.
"In villages, the panchayats' have pending bills related to the supply of water. We are waiving Rs 1,168 crore of their pending bills to give relief to villagers," said CM Channi.
It was decided in the meeting to provide funds through budgetary support to settle outstanding arrears of Rs 1,168 crore of power bills of rural water supply schemes, said the statement.
The cabinet also decided to provide free power to all rural water supply schemes with effect from October 1. This decision will entail an annual expenditure of Rs 440 crore on the state exchequer, it said.
The Cabinet also gave a nod to reducing service charges on all rural water supply schemes by 70 per cent from Rs 166 to Rs 50 per household per month in the villages.
The Cabinet also decided to reduce water usage charges to Rs 50 per month for domestic connections of all categories having plot size above 125 square yards in municipal councils and Nagar Panchayats and Municipal Corporations.
Notably, plots up to 125 square yards in urban areas have already been exempted from paying water and sewerage user charges. “We are fixing water user charges at Rs 50 for villages and cities,” said CM Channi.
Referring to the opposition allegation of the state's 'empty coffers', Channi said, “Punjab da Khazana kade khali nahi hunda, na asi khali hon dena' (Punjab's coffers are not empty).”
He said his government is committed to providing all facilities to the state. On another Cabinet decision, Channi said it has also decided to regularly conduct appointments for Group-D posts comprising peons, drivers etc.
He slammed the previous governments for hiring people for Group-D posts on an outsource basis. On a query about the status of contractual employees, Channi said the state government is already in the process to finalize a policy in this regard to safeguard the interest of such employees.
Channi was accompanied by deputy chief ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and O P Soni, Cabinet ministers Manpreet Singh Badal, Aruna Chaudhary, Vijay Inder Singla and Pargat Singh.