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Hyderabad: Prod to gram panchayats to pay power bills regularly

Hyderabad: Prod to gram panchayats to pay power bills regularly
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The Gram Panchayats (GPs) have been strictly instructed to pay the power bills every month and action would be taken on the officials responsible, if they fail to pay the bills regularly.

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Hyderabad: The Gram Panchayats (GPs) have been strictly instructed to pay the power bills every month and action would be taken on the officials responsible, if they fail to pay the bills regularly.

According to the sources in the department, the GPs have an arrears of about Rs 600 crore as they are not paying the power bills regularly. During the previous term of the Gram Panchayats, the sarpanches and panchayat secretaries have evaded payment of the bills and the arrears have grown up.

After the TRS came to power for the second time, the Panchayat Raj department has taken up the power bills issue seriously and it took steps to ensure that the GPs pay the bills regularly.

The power issue has been given prominence in the two phases of Palle Pragathi programme. Apart from fixing the problems of power supply in villages, the government also took steps to see that the bills are paid regularly.

In the past, the officials of PR department used to take the amount of the current bills from the grants of the Finance Commission and pay to the power distribution companies.

This has addressed the power bills arrears to some extent. As the sarpanches have opposed this, the department officials have stopped deducting the power bills from the FC grants leading to the recurrence of piling up of arrears of power bills.

However, the financial problems of the power distribution companies have forced the government to see that the arrears are collected properly. The government has issued instructions to all the departments to pay the arrears of the power bills.

In order to help the GPs to pay the bills regularly, the State government streamlined the release of FC funds to the GPs. It has been releasing Rs 330 crore per month to the GPs.

The power distribution companies have also arranged meters for streetlights and other power equipment of the GPs for proper billing. The bills are generated regularly and being sent to the GPs.

The government also instructed the GPs to put focus on improving their revenue collections. The GPs have been told to collect the property tax regularly and pay the bills promptly.

Recently, they have made it mandatory to each Gram Panchayat to wipe out the arrears of power bills. The sarpanches and GP secretaries have been warned with action if the arrears of power bills are not paid.

The officials would review the payment of the power bills by the GPs regularly and would initiate action on the sarpanches and GP secretaries who have failed to pay the bills.

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