Himansu Shekhar Rout

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), in its poll plank, has promised free electricity to nearly 90 per cent of the families in Odisha. However, questions are being raised on how far the promise will be practicable in reality and how many people will benefit from it. 

The opposition parties and the Odisha Electricity Consumers’ Association have denounced the idea. 

As per the BJD announcement, consumers using up to 100 units of electricity per month are entitled to a complete waiver. Those using 100 to 150 units monthly will get a waiver of 50 units and those using over 150 units per month will get no relief. 

BJD leader Ranendra Pratap Swain claimed it would be a boon for 90 per cent of farmers who will meet the criteria. 

As per official data, the number of consumers using up to 100 units in Odisha is 55 lakh, who are paying Rs 2.82 per unit. 

Energy expert Ananda Mohapatra said, "About 65 lakh consumers use electricity up to 100 units.”
BJP’s Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi alleged that the state government is selling electricity at Rs 2.52 per unit to a private company in Tamil Nadu.   

BJD's poll promise is a lie: BJP

BJP leader Anil Biswal termed the BJD’s promise a political gimmick ahead of the polls."How many families are there in Odisha using electricity up to 100 units per month? Maybe, 10 to 15 lakh families may come under this category. Only 10 per cent of people may get the benefit, but claiming that 90 per cent of consumers will be benefitted is a complete lie,” he said.   

Congress leader Prasad Harichandan said, "The BJD has been inspired by the Congress. With 100 units of electricity, a consumer can use only a bulb and a fan.” 

Years ago, the governments in Delhi, Punjab, Karnataka and Telangana made provision of free electricity for up to 200 units.

'We need 200 units of free electricity'

Consumer Somnath Muduli said, “Now, many houses in Odisha have a TV set, a freeze, three to five bulbs and fans. The minimum monthly consumption exceeds 100 units. That means we have to pay the full bill. Had it promised 200 units of free electricity, we would have got the benefits.”  

Ramesh Satpathy, president of the Odisha Electricity Consumers’ Association, said, “What is new in it? You are doing this after ruling 24 years. They (BJD) will give us nothing.”

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