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Power dues push three mandals in Andhra into darkness- The New Indian Express


Express News Service

ANANTAPUR : Darkness engulfed several villages in three mandals of Sri Satya Sai district as power supply to street lights was cut two days ago over pending dues. It has been reported that administrations of Kanekal, Uravakonda and Vidapanakal mandals under Kalyanadurgam circle are yet to clear electricity bills to the tune of over Rs 13 crore.

According to official records, around 13 panchayats in Kanekal mandal owe approximately Rs 7.79 crore to the electricity department, while Uravakonda major panchayat owes Rs 2.22 crore and the remaining panchayats in Uravakonda mandal owe Rs 2.03 crore. Panchayats under Vidapanakal mandal have not cleared power bills to tune of Rs 1.88 crore.

Transmission Corporation (APTRANSCO) assistant director (Kalyandurgam division) Gururaj said they did not receive any response from panchayats even after issuing notices, directing them to clear the bills.
The department resorted to cutting power supply to street lights due to pressure being mounted from higher officials, Gururaj explained and said they have apprised the matter to senior officials. Anantapur district panchayat officer Prabhakar Rao told TNIE that he was not aware of the issue.

No funds to take up works, says Sarpanch

He maintained that the panchayats have been paying bills based on the availability of funds and said he would look into the matter. “How can we possibly pay the bills, if the government is taking away funds given to gram panchayats? In Vidapankallu mandal alone, power bills might be more than Rs 1 crore. We are not in a position to clear the arrears and pay the fresh bills too,” Boya Chandrasekhar, a sarpanch of Vidapanakal mandal, rued.

He added that they are not in a position to even take up development works in villages due to paucity of funds. Chandrasekhar claimed that the government had taken Rs 50 lakh – 38 lakh in one instance and Rs 12 lakh on another occasion  — from the account meant for the gram panchayat.

CPI secretary for Uravakonda constituency Manohar accused the YSRC government of weakening the gram panchayats. The inability of the panchayats to pay bills clearly indicates their poor financial situation, he remarked.



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