Last week, the Administrative Council, the highest decision making body in J&K administration headed by Lieutenant Governor, announced a one-time amnesty scheme for the domestic power consumers to enable them to pay outstanding dues in a maximum of 12 installments.
The Administrative Council has provided this last opportunity to the consumers in view of not being able to avail the benefits of last scheme due to spread of Covid-19 pandemic during the erstwhile scheme period.
The new scheme envisages that the outstanding principal amount arrears accumulated upto 31.03.2022 after waiving off 100% interest/surcharge.
The scheme further entails that the failure of payment of any installment/installments within the prescribed twelve (12) months period shall invite penalty and legal action under Electricity Act, 2010, in addition to the accrual of compound interest on the outstanding dues.
After receiving the AC’s nod, the Power Department formally issued an order declaring the waiver of the interest that had accrued on domestic electricity bills due to non-payments for J&K residents.
Over 5.50 lakh domestic consumers would benefit from the decision with cumulative Rs 937.34 crore that had accumulated as the interest due to late payments waived off.
The government’s decision has been hailed widely as COVID battered J&K’s economy a lot as a result of which many electricity customers failed to pay bills on time.
Representatives of several Trade Associations welcomed the decision and expressed their gratitude to the Lieutenant Governor.
The power sector in J&K reels under several problems and nonpayment of electric bills for months and even years together contribute to the gap between the revenues and the expenditure. While the decision of the Government in providing one time amnesty is commendable, it allows it to get the payments during the due course of time. The domestic consumers have been benefited to the extent that they can now pay in 12 installments which may not be as onerous as two or three installments which might have been allowed by the officers of the PDD in order to get revenue collection. While traders’ bodies have hailed the decision, the government is also expected to take a positive decision as regards their demand for such a relaxation to the community. The PDD officials are required to encourage people who have failed to make payments to avail the benefits of the present scheme and make sure that it is a success.