In a bid to provide relief to the residents across all the villages, the Punjab Cabinet on Monday decided to provide free power to all Rural Water Supply (RWS) schemes from 1 October this year.
This decision was taken during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi this morning.
According to a spokesperson of the CM’s Office, this decision would entail an annual expenditure of Rs 440 Crore on the state exchequer. Likewise, the Cabinet also gave nod to reduce the service charges on all RWS schemes by 70 per cent from Rs 166 to Rs 50 per household per month in the villages.
It was also decided in the meeting to provide funds through budgetary support to settle outstanding arrears of Rs 1168 Crore of power bills of RWS schemes.
In a relief to the people residing in urban areas, the Cabinet also decided to reduce water usage charges to Rs 50 per month for domestic connections of all categories having plot size above 125 square yards in municipal councils and municipal corporations. Plots upto 125 square yards in urban areas have already been exempted from paying water and sewerage user charges. Both these concessions would benefit nearly 25 lakh families living in urban areas.
The Cabinet also decided to waive off all the outstanding arrears of water supply and sewerage charges for domestic connections. This decision is likely to cost the state exchequer to the tune of nearly Rs 700 Crore.