As Yogi Govt Clamps Down On Massive Electricity Freeloading; Here’s How It Is Dismantling VVIP ‘Privileges’ In UP

by Swarajya Staff - Oct 29, 2019 07:25 PM +05:30 IST
As Yogi Govt Clamps Down On Massive Electricity Freeloading; Here’s How It Is Dismantling VVIP ‘Privileges’ In UPUP CM Yogi Adityanath.
  • The government officials and legislators past and present owe a whopping Rs 13,000 crore in electricity dues to the power discoms

The Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh state government has announced the installation of pre-paid electricity metres in the official residences of government ministers, legislators and officials to henceforth check the non-payment of dues.

It is believed to have taken this step in light of power dues amounting to a whopping Rs 13,000 crore. These dues are owed to the state exchequer by the aforementioned government functionaries.

This decision comes after the state government’s initiative to curb power theft in the state creating specialised police stations in all 75 districts of the state. Over 2,000 police pickets have been created for this new task force which will work alongside the power department.

These pre-paid electricity metres - which work similar to prepaid mobile phones are expected to keep any future electricity freeloading in check. The government has placed an order for 1 lakh pre-paid power metres which when delivered will be installed in various government residences and buildings.

Besides this, the state power ministry is also expected to levy all past electricity dues owed to the state. As per power minister Shrikant Sharma, the defaulters would be given an option to pay off their dues in instalments.

Incidentally, this decision is in line with the Yogi Adityanath’s government’s initiatives which have curbed such freeloading by VVIPs and legislators. Here are few such measures enacted in the past.

Making UP Ministers Pay Their Own Income Tax

The state government in September announced that it is abolishing a 1981 law which made the UP state exchequer pay the Income taxes of ministers.

The Uttar Pradesh Ministers' Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Act, 1981 enacted during the chief ministerial tenure of V P Singh, had taken the income tax “burden” of the ministers’ shoulders.

While passing this act, the then erstwhile state government had contended that UP ministers had meagre incomes and came from poor backgrounds. The government last year had paid Rs 86 lakhs in form of Income Tax subsidy for UP Ministers.

This law remained in place for almost 40 years before the Yogi Adityanath government decided to pull the plug.

Ending VIP Practices

Back in July 2017 the Yogi Adityanath government had instructed that the residences and official buildings to be used for his meetings not be decked up with facilities like red carpets, sofas and air conditioners.

He had also instructed his officials and ministers not to indulge in presenting bouquets and flowers when either him or his ministers visit their area.

In 2018 the Yogi Adityanath government had issued notices to six former chief ministers to vacate their government bungalows in light of a supreme court order.

This led to a big row wherein Mayawati had refused to give up possession of the bungalow after claiming that she had converted it into a Kanshi Ram memorial.

Former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had vacated the bungalow but not before reportedly comprehensively vandalising it.

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