Punjab fulfill its first poll promise, announces 300 units of free electricity from July 1

Punjab fulfill its first poll promise, announces 300 units of free electricity from July 1
As it completed one month in power on Saturday, the newly-elected AAP government in Punjab fulfilled its first poll promise of providing 300 units of free electricity every month for each household in the state from July 1.

Punjab chief minister said 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, adding that if their consumption is more than 600 units in two months, then they will be charged only for the exceeded units.

The chief minister said for other domestic households, if the electricity consumption exceeds 600 units in two months, then the consumer will have to pay for the entire power usage. 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 move comes after inputs from cash-strapped Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) that it would be difficult to introduce free electricity during the summer months. As first reported by ET in its April 14 edition, the state has been struggling with shortage of coal to keep its thermal power plants running and is barely able to fulfil the current demand. With paddy sowing season starting, the demand for power will only increase. PSPCL had told the AAP top brass that providing free electricity at this time would increase indiscriminate use of power and can push up the demand in the crucial summer months.

AAP convenow and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the move and said, “The AAP does what it says and does not make false promises like other parties. An honest and patriotic government with clear intentions has come in Punjab. We will not allow lack of funds come in the way of progress.”

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Meanwhile, Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring took a potshot at the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and questioned the move referring to the conditions attached to it. “The proof of pudding is in the eating… The truthfulness of your 300 unit free power will be tested in the details and conditions attached to it. Best of luck to PSPCL who have to survive now, somehow,” tweeted.

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