Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu allegedly owes more than Rs 8.67 lakh in pending bills, India Today reported on Saturday, citing records of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited.
According to the power corporation, Sidhu has not paid Rs 8,67,540, issued to him on June 22. This bill is for his home in Amritsar and the last date of payment was on Friday. Sidhu’s last payment, of Rs 10 lakh, was on March 26.
When asked why Sidhu’s power has not been disconnected, Sakatar Singh, the chief engineer at the power corporation in Amritsar, said that he does not know about the pending bill. “Normally, a connection is temporarily disconnected if the consumer fails to make the bill payment within a month,” Singh said. “Following the pandemic, we have asked consumers to pay in installments. We will find out why the payment has not been made.”
Notably, the Congress leader had suggested various measures to tackle the power crisis in Punjab on Friday. In a series of tweets, Sidhu had said that buying power from the national grid and stopping dependency on private thermal plants could help reduce the cost of electricity in the state.
He had also criticised his own Congress government and the earlier Shiromani Akali Dal led-dispensation for the power crisis in the state.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal criticised Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Sidhu over the huge electricity dues, reported NDTV.
“Captain saab [Amarinder Singh], if you have got some time from harassing the people of Punjab with power crises, then please pay your attention to the minister who has pending electricity bills worth lakhs of rupees,” the Shiromani Akali Dal tweeted, tagging both Congress leaders. “And shower your blessings upon him.”
The power crisis has emerged as one of the major election topics after the Aam Aadmi Party promised 300 units of free electricity to each household if it wins the elections next year.
The Punjab government is facing criticism over power shortage amid an intense heatwave. On Thursday, the Punjab government had ordered cuts in power supply to high energy-consuming industries as demand climbed to over 14,000 MW a day.
Meanwhile, hundreds of AAP members led by the party’s Punjab unit chief Bhagwant Mann staged a protest outside Amarinder Singh’s house over the power crisis on Saturday. As the protestors started marching towards the chief minister’s residence, the police reportedly used water cannons to stop them. A few party leaders were also detained.