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Govt likely to grant amnesty to power defaulters; 30% dues may be waived off

SRINAGAR, Feb 8: In a bid to recover electricity arrears, government is likely to grant amnesty to domestic and commercial electricity defaulters in the state.
There has been swelling arrears of electricity, and many power defaulters have failed to clear pending dues for the last over a decade.
An official of the Power Development Department said that government has sought details about electricity arrears of domestic and commercial establishments in the state. “It has been decided to grant amnesty to power defaulters,” the PDD official, said.
He said it would be an opportunity for the domestic and commercial consumers to avail the benefit under the amnesty and clear their pending electricity bills.
“100 percent power tariff may be waived-off to defunct industrial units,” the official said. “While, defaulters of domestic and hoteliers category may have to pay less than 70 percent arrears to the government,” he said.
The aim of the amnesty is to recover pending tariff by the end of the current fiscal.
During last year, official figures reveal that 1690 domestic consumers availed the benefit of amnesty in Srinagar.
An official at the Finance Department said that government may announce the amnesty to power defaulters in the next few days. “How much one can avail the benefit will be known once the order is issued,” the official added.
Government has said in the assembly that government departments and commercial establishments owe a whopping Rs 19557 crores as liability to the power department. In the current fiscal, there has been over Rs 2000 crore electricity arrears in the state.
The PDD officials said that state was already facing a huge burden of power purchase. “Recovering of power tariff would help to reduce revenue generation gap,” they said.
For the last one decade, over Rs 30,000 crore has been spent on power purchase by the state government.
Official figures reveal that state government spent Rs 1,355 crore on power purchase in 2006-2007, Rs 1750 crore in 2007-08, and Rs 2034 in 2008-09.
During 2015-16, Rs around 4800 crore was spent on power purchase by the state. While the power development department has projected that it would purchase power from Rs 5,058.42 in the current fiscal. At the same time, there has been around 50 percent revenue generation gap over the years.