“Can’t Provide Free Electricity To Consumers”: Bihar Chief Minister

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'Can't Provide Free Electricity To Consumers': Bihar Chief Minister

“Already providing electricity to consumers at highly subsidised rates”: Bihar Chief Minister (File)

Patna:

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday dismissed the opposition’s demand for providing at least 200 units of free electricity to the poor and emphasised that electricity is already being supplied to consumers at highly subsidised rates.

The Bihar Chief Minister made the remark in the assembly during a debate on budget allocation for the energy department for 2024-25. A budgetary proposal of Rs 11,422.67 crore of the department was passed by voice vote.

“We can’t provide free electricity to consumers. I have been saying this for years. We are already providing electricity to consumers at highly subsidised rates,” the Bihar Chief Minister said, rejecting the demands of opposition members that at least 200 units of electricity be given free to 94 lakh families who earn less than Rs 6,000 a month.

The demand was first raised by Sandeep Saurav, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation’s MLA, during a debate on budget allocation for the energy department.

State Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav while echoing the Bihar Chief Minister’s remark said, “Nahi de sakte bijli humlog free mein (We can’t provide free electricity to the consumers).” He said the department is introducing various rebate schemes for consumers who have installed smart prepaid power meters. Additionally, he highlighted the government’s subsidy of electricity at 70 paisa per unit for farming activities.

“For giving subsidy to power consumers, the state government sanctioned Rs 13,114 crore in 2023-24. As far as farmers are concerned, the government is already providing them electricity at a cost of 70 paisa per unit for farming activities”, the minister said.

Bijendra Prasad Yadav also noted the significant improvement in power availability, with urban areas experiencing 23-24 hours of power supply and rural areas receiving 21-22 hours.

He credited the state government’s consistent support for the power distribution companies’ first-time profit of Rs 215 crore in 2022-23 after a gap of 58 years.

“Because of the consistent support by the state government, for the first time after a gap of 58 years, power distribution companies in the state have earned a profit of Rs 215 crore in 2022-23”, he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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