The Meghalaya Mahila Congress has condemned the apparent waiver of an electricity bill totaling more than Rs 1 crore owed to the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL) by a company based in Ri-Bhoi.
Mahila Congress President, Joplyn Scott Shylla was reacting to a report in Friday’s edition of Highland Post, where it was revealed that MeECL boss Arun Kumar Kembhavi had granted the waiver to Sai Prakash Alloys.
“While the state Power Minister is yet to come up with a clarification on the methodology to differentiate between the use of the new ‘smart’ meters and the old ones, his own departmental head (Kembhavi) has gone on an overdrive” to waive the company’s debt to the public utility.
Shylla questioned how Kembhavi could waive the amount without first consulting the MeECL board.
“It seems that the state Power Minister is unaware of his officers or they are being given a free hand to do whatever they feel best, without thinking of the burden of loans that is put upon the common citizen. While the employees fight for their salary, which is the basic right to livelihood and right to dignity, it is ironic that a waiver was given,” she said.
Shylla went on to question the “double standards” of why a company that had accrued such liabilities should be effectively rewarded with a waiver while ordinary citizens face the prospect of having their electricity connections severed for even a month’s worth of unpaid bills.
Under previous Congress governments, such situations did not arise because the “bureaucracy was made accountable for its actions,” she added. “The party MLAs stand with the common citizen shoulder to shoulder and, in spite of being in opposition, the party will keep a check on the functions of the state government and the officials who tend to misuse their authority.”