The BJP had called for a state-wide protest against the increased electricity bills and had demanded the government waive the bills for the past three months.

Bandi Sanjay
news Protest Monday, June 15, 2020 - 16:20

Several BJP leaders including Nizamabad MP D Arvind were detained by the police on Monday as they attempted to gather in large numbers outside the Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited office in Hyderabad to protest excessive electricity bills. The BJP Telangana unit gave a call for a state-wide protest demanding the TRS-led government to waive off the electricity bills.

However, police foiled their plans by putting several of their leaders under house arrest, which includes Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh, former MLA K Laxman, MLC Ramachander Rao and several others.

Police personnel also stationed themselves outside the BJP office in Nampally to detain the BJP leaders. BJP state president Bandi Sanjay had planned to take a rally from Nampally to TSSPDCL office. 

BJP MLA Raja Singh who was put under house arrest while addressing the media said, “We decided to hold a peaceful protest against the hiked power bills, but the Chief Minister has put all our leaders under house arrest.” Questioning the Chief Minister over the detention, he said, “Will you arrest anyone who speaks against your government? Will you arrest anyone who speaks on behalf of the people?”

The MLA said that several residents received power bills for thousands of rupees. “How will the poor people pay this money? Already due to lockdown, several lost their jobs, and at this juncture if you are asking them to pay bills for thousands of rupees. How will they pay those bills?”

Raja Singh demanded that the CM waive the power bills for the past three months. “Unless you waive the bills, we will continue our protest,” he warned.

Condemning the arrest of party leaders, BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao said, "BJP warns the TRS government to not use police force to undermine constitutional rights of the opposition parties in the state."

He added, "BJP demands waiver of the last 3 months electricity bills, especially to the poor and middle class in Telangana, owing to occupational and income disruptions faced by them during the lockdown period."

Several residents in Telangana complained  about receiving excessive electricity bills for the months of March, May and April.

The reason for the excessive bills was the method adopted by the state government to fix the charges. Owing to the pandemic, the electricity department had decided to do away with the metre readings for the past three months and generated bills based on the average usage of electricity of each household during the same months in 2019. For this purpose power tariffs in the state have been fixed based on the category. For domestic use in 1 B category: Those using electricity between 0-100 units a tariff of Rs 1.30 per unit have been fixed; those using electricity between 101-200 units a tariff of Rs 4.30 have been fixed.    

State Minister of Energy, G Jagadish Reddy admitted that there was an increase in bills in some cases. For instance: If a resident’s usual electricity usage would be 200 units, and if they exceed by even one unit, the bill would automatically go to the next slab and they might be charged Rs 5 per unit, he had said.