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Opposition Lambasts Odisha Govt Over CESU’s Power Disconnection Drive, Seeks Roll Back

Bhubaneswar: With Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) set to commence a mass power supply disconnection drive on defaulting consumers from January 16, the Opposition BJP and Congress on Tuesday attacked Odisha government terming the drive unconstitutional.

The BJP has alleged that while electricity bills amounting to thousands of crores are pending against several big companies and industrial establishments, the State government is only targeting the poor consumers.

Addressing a presser here, BJP State general secretary Lekhashree Samantsinhar said, “The data given by the State government in the Assembly revealed that power distribution companies (discoms) operating in the State owed a whopping Rs 7,657 crore to Grid Corporation of Odisha Limited (Gridco). However, it is unfortunate that the CESU is going to force 11, 397 villages into darkness for defaulting payments.”

Lekhashree questioned how students will prepare for upcoming Matric & Plus II examinations if the government disconnects the electricity connection in villages.

“We believe that collecting outstanding bill is necessary, but why the State government is yet to collect the dues from big companies and business establishments,” she questioned.

“CESU should immediately roll back its decision and hold discussions with people to find out ways to collect the pending dues,” she added.

On the other hand, Congress MLA Suresh Routray also threatened to hit the streets over the move. “We have requested Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and energy minister not to interrupt exam preparations of students by disconnecting power supply. If the government interferes in their study, we will not tolerate it and give a befitting reply by launching massive protest,” Routray said.

“If the State government is concerned about the pending bills, it should collect the dues from the industrialists first,” he added.

Meanwhile the CESU authorities have confirmed that that power disconnection drive will begin as per the schedule.

“Firstly, defaulting commercial consumers and households who are capable to repay but haven’t deliberately cleared dues will face termination of supply. As many as 413 squads have been formed for the exercise in nine districts,”said CESU SGM Manoj Singh.

Refuting the reports that thousands of villages will go dark due to disconnection, Singh said only those households or establishments who have not paid their dues will face termination of power supply.

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