SHILLONG: The State BJP has alleged that a big scam is taking place in the form of high rates of electricity bills slapped on the public — both in the urban and rural areas across the State. In a statement on Thursday, BJP State vice president Bernard N Marak said that the high electricity bills are indirect tax imposed on the tribals by the authorities as the State cannot impose direct tax on tribals.
He also called upon Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, Power Minister James K Sangma and all elected leaders to immediately rectify this problem.
"The BJP wants to bring to the notice of the Chief Minister a nd MLAs including the Power Minister that the high electricity bills served to the public is one of the major issues which needs to be immediately rectified as the public are being forced to pay unjustified amounts every month," said Marak.
Alleging that a new mechanism has been devised through the electricity bills to loot the public, he said that the people have no earning during lockdown and many have not received their dues. Above that, the high electricity bills slapped on the public — both in urban and rural areas — fails any justification.
"The BJP wants good governance in the State; and this issue is one of the major problems being faced by the public. This needs to be immediately looked into. Else, the authorities concerned and the Minister will be held responsible as we smell a big scam," he said.
He added that the tribal people are forced to pay the bills on threats of disconnection and legal action despite the constant power cuts and shutdowns.
Marak further alleged that the bills are not prepared unit wise; and the agents are serving the bills without checking the meters.
Stating that the issue of high electricity bill is an exploitation of the locals, he said that the party fears that this is another case of corruption. The BJP cannot remain silent when people are exploited and made to suffer through threats, he said.
The BJP leader also said the Chief Minister should address this issue immediately as the entire State is facing this problem and particularly his constituency — Tura — is the worst affected.
"On lodging complaints, the department puts it on defective meter boxes. How can all meters be defective? Are defective meters being supplied in the entire State? Is that another scam?
Some people who used to pay Rs 250 received bills of thousands while thos of some others even touched the mark of lakhs of rupees. This is impossible. Every alternate day, there is a power cut; and Saturdays are mostly power dry days due to shutdown in the Garo Hills. The consumers are pained due to rampant corruption through indirect tax which needs to be rectified, he added. People use CFL or LED bulbs these days and the rural folks don't use refrigerators, rice cookers etc. So how come the bills are high?" he posed.
The BJP leader also asked if there is some kind of deal with the companies collecting bills or is it that the leaders are in favour of imposing the extra rates.
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