Gujarat CEO pulls up state govt over electricity bill waiver before polls
A report was sought from the state government on its announcement to waive rural electricity bills as it came two days before an Assembly by-election, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat said Wednesday. It also sought another report from the BJP government as some of its leaders claimed Tuesday that the Centre had cleared a proposal for an AIIMS in Rajkot, said CEO S Murali Krishna.
Krishna told reporters in Gandhinagar that the concerned departments -- Energy and Health -- have submitted their reports. "We sought reports from these two departments yesterday following the announcements...we wanted to examine if these announcements violated the Model Code of Conduct (in force on account of December 20 Jasdan bypoll)," the IAS officer said.
"We received the reports today. We will examine them and draw the Election Commission's attention to the issue," he said. Hours before campaigning for the Jasdan bypoll ended at 5 PM Tuesday, the Gujarat government announced a complete waiver of unpaid electricity bills of Rs 625 crore under a one-time settlement scheme for over 6 lakh people in rural parts of the state.
Under the scheme, irrespective of the dues, including principal amount and interest, people living in rural areas can restore their electricity connection by paying a fee of only Rs 500. Afterwards, minister Saurabh Patel also congratulated the people of Rajkot saying the Union government has given clearance for the establishment of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rajkot.
The BJP's state unit chief Jitu Vaghani, who was campaigning in Jasdan, then also thanked the Centre for allocating an AIIMS to Rajkot. However, there was no official announcement from the Centre about the AIIMS.
(With inputs from agencies.)