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Panchayats to plunge into darkness in West Godavari

Panchayats to plunge into darkness in West Godavari
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All the grama panchayats offices in West Godavari district would plunge into darkness from Sunday. The Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Company (APEPDCL) Limited higher officials issued orders to disconnect the power supply to 906 grama panchayats in the district from Sunday, as the latter failed to pay the arrears of power charges which escalated to crores of rupees.

Eluru/Akiveedu: All the grama panchayats offices in West Godavari district would plunge into darkness from Sunday. The Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Company (APEPDCL) Limited higher officials issued orders to disconnect the power supply to 906 grama panchayats in the district from Sunday, as the latter failed to pay the arrears of power charges which escalated to crores of rupees.

Grama panchayats since the decades are not in a position to pay the power charges to street lighting, office power consumption charges due to the financial crunch. The Finance Commission funds allocated to the grama panchayats have to be utilised for the development works in the villages. Earlier, the financial problem was restricted to minor panchayats in the district.

However, following non-release of funds to the grama panchayats, the major panchayats are also not in a position to pay the power charges to the APEPDCL. Following the non-payment of the charges during last year, the APEPDCL has disconnected the power supplies to many panchayats. After the intervention of District Collector K Bhaskar, some arrears have been paid to the APEPDCL resulting in restoration of power.

It is estimated that at present the dues to the APEPDCL has reached to Rs.225.70 crore from grama panchayats.

The APEPDCL higher officials strictly directed the district officials to disconnect the power supply to street lighting and panchayat offices until the bills were cleared. Following this, the electrical officials are ready to disconnect the supply to the panchayats. However, the power supply to protected drinking water would be continued, according to officials.

When asked the APEPDCL superintending engineer Chinta Satyanarayana Reddy told The Hans India that the power supply would be stopped from Sunday as per the directive from the higher officials.

Already, notices to all panchayat secretaries in the district served as per the fiat of Chief Secretary of Energy, he said. The five divisional engineers served these notices to the panchayat secretaries, he added.

He said that in Eluru division -Rs 66 crore, Jangareddiguydem-Rs.34.80 crore, Tadepalligudem division-Rs.46.20 crore, Nidadavole division-Rs.52.18 crore, Bhimavaram division-Rs.26.61 crores dues have to be collected from the panchayats, he added.

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