Gram panchayats ran up Rs 2,500 crore in arrears towards power consumption and now want the state government to bail them out. Though the yearly electricity bill of around 12,700 panchayats is between Rs 350 crore to Rs 400 crore and some of them have been partially paying the bills, the arrears swelled up due to non-payment of bills prior to the formation of Telangana, officials said.
The previous Congress government in undivided AP had issued orders that it would clear the bills of panchayats but did not pay them.
Also, sarpanches and members of the panchayats in a large number of villages did not see to it that the power bills were paid regularly. “Only major panchayats with good revenue collections through building permissions, land registrations and property tax have been paying consumption charges regularly,” a senior panchayat official told TOI.
Panchayats consume electricity through street-lights, water pumps for drinking water supply as part of rural water supply and also towards electricity consumed in buildings accommodating panchayat offices. Read More
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