O. Pannerselvam criticises DMK government for installation of meters for new farm connections

‘There is an apprehension among the farmers that the installation of meters is being carried out to collect consumption charges in the future’

AIADMK coordinator O. Panneerselvam on Tuesday criticised the DMK government for allowing the installation of meters for new electricity connections being given to farmers.

Expressing shock over the move, Mr. Panneerselvam, in a statement, recalled that the DMK had criticised a similar move when the AIADMK was in power during 2001-06. While participating in a debate in April 2002 on the Budget for 2002-03, E.V. Velu, then a legislator and now Minister for Public Works and Highways, questioned the need for installing the meters when agriculturists were enjoying the Free Power Supply Scheme. Responding to his point, the then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa made it clear that the scheme would continue. However, the installation of the meters was to ascertain electricity consumption by the farm sector. Yet, the DMK and other Opposition parties had organised agitations to settle political scores.

When the Central Government released the draft of the Electricity Act in 2020, the then Leader of Opposition (LOP) [now Chief Minister M.K. Stalin] had termed it a move to scrap the Free Power Supply Scheme of 100 units bi-monthly to domestic connections and came down heavily on the previous AIADMK regime. “With the then LOP being Chief Minister now, the DMK is implementing all that it had opposed while in the Opposition,” the AIADMK leader said.

At the time of launch of the One Lakh Connection Scheme for Agriculturists in September, Mr. Stalin had sought to portray it as a huge achievement, as if there was no such scheme elsewhere in the country. But, he did not make any observation about the installation of meters for new connections.

“It is said that the work of installing meters is being done following the Central Government’s direction that new electricity connections should not be given without meters, and all unmetered connections should also be provided with meters. There is an apprehension among the farmers that the installation of meters is being carried out to collect consumption charges in the future,” Mr. Panneerselvam said. He called upon the Chief Minister to have the meter installation revoked and take steps to get the Central Government’s directions rescinded.

However, officials of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation clarified that the installation of meters for fresh farm connections is not new and has been in practice for the last five years. The present plan is to give one lakh connections during the current year at a cost of ₹3,025 crore, the officials pointed out, adding that the free power supply will continue, and the installation of meters is limited to new connections only.

Source: Read Full Article