Outstanding power bills of village panchayats add up to ₹4,229 crore

Minister says measures have been put in place to prevent misuse of electricity

Concerned over village panchayats running up power bills amounting to ₹4,229 crore, the Karnataka Government is considering the option of automating the operation of street lights and drinking water supply systems.

Replying to JD(S) member Shivalinge Gowda during zero hour in the Assembly, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister K. S. Eshwarappa said the above amount had been accumulated since 2015. The RDPR Department is also considering installing solar lights in village panchayat buildings.

Mr. Shivalinge Gowda had expressed concern that power authorities were set to disconnect supply to village panchayats that had not cleared their dues. But the panchayats were helpless as whatever money was being given by the government to them was not enough to pay their power bills.

The Minister stressed on the need for taking precautions to conserve energy, and informed that responsibility had been fixed on various officers to prevent misuse or wastage of power.

In addition, the government had given an annual grant of ₹25 lakh each to 750 panchayats, and this benefit would be extended to another 1,500 village panchayats in the next State budget, he said. Karnataka has approximately 6,500 gram panchayats.

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