Power dept mulls relaxation of late payment fines due to cash crunch
State Power minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee on Thursday said that in the face of cash crunch triggered by the sudden announcement of demonetising currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000, his department is contemplating to relax the fine imposed on the consumers for their delay in payment of electricity bills.
On the sidelines of ‘Bijoya Sammilani’ programme of the power department employees at Vidyut Bhavan, Chatterjee said that he would talk to the senior officials of the department discussing if the fine for the delay in bill payments could be waived as the people are facing an unprecedented crisis of cash crunch.
The minister also said that to provide some respite in the hours of crisis, the last date of payment of electricity bills was extended.
Like other state government departments, normal works in the Power department have also been disrupted.
While addressing the gathering in the Bidyut Bhavan auditorium, he attacked the Centre for its announcement of demonetising old currency notes without making necessary arrangements.
“Before coming up with this announcement the Centre should have done enough homework considering all aspects. The decision was taken in haste and hence, the people of the country are facing serious inconveniences every day. A responsible government cannot take such a decision” Chatterjee said.
He also maintained that the new currencies that were printed so far are equating around 8 per cent of the total floating currency in the country.
As a result of this, the daily wage labourers, farmers, small scale businessmen, traders have been mostly affected. Some people are not even getting changes against the new currencies of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000.
Echoing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s demand, Chatterjee strongly advocated for a constitutional amendment as he claimed that the federal structure is weak in our country. The country could not develop until the states do not become powerful financially, he said.
“This is not completely a federal structure. Constitutional amendment is necessary to give more
power to the states. The states must be provided more money and power,” Chatterjee added.