Maharashtra farmers get Rs. 17,000cr power bill relief for now

Mumbai: The state has decided to stay recovery of power bills run up by farmers given their current hardships, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the assembly on March 23. Outstanding dues for power bills of agricultural pumps amount to Rs 17,000 crore. The CM also assured that power connections would not be cut off on account of unpaid bills.
The relief is the third such move aimed at providing relief to the farm sector after the loan waiver and the assurances made following the ‘long march’ to Mumbai by tribals and marginal farmers in north Maharashtra. The earlier two announcements are expected to add up to concessions worth Rs 25,000-35,000 crore which would benefit more than 50 lakh farmers.
In the past too, recovery of power arrears from farmers have been stayed despite the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission directing the government to recover the dues. “In the past three years, bill recoveries had been stayed on account of the drought and other crises faced by the farm sector,” Fadnavis said.
The drive to recover dues had begun in November 2017. Around Rs 350 crore had been recovered from farmers and around 2 lakh connections were cut, officials said. Officials say agricultural tariffs in Maharashtra are among the lowest in the country.

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