The Telegraph
Saturday , July 12 , 2014
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Ministers field House posers

Patna, July 11: The state government has conceded the problem of power consumers receiving inflated bills because of faulty meters in the capital.

“We have received several complaints on exorbitant billing by consumers. Steps have been taken to rectify the bills,” said finance minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav, while responding to a question of the BJP’s Nitin Navin during question hour on Friday.

The MLA complained that several residents were receiving inflated bills to the tune of Rs 1 crore and that they had to run around power department officials to get them rectified. He attributed the faulty billing to the failure of the authorities concerned to change the old electro mechanical meter to the digital meter.

The minister said there were more than 5.18 lakh listed power consumers in Patna. Conceding that the change to digital meters was pending for over 1.83 lakh consumers, Bijendra attributed the slow pace of change in meters to the lack of man power.

Leader of Opposition Nand Kishore Yadav alleged that consumers were forced to pay bribe to get the billing corrected. The minister promised to speed up the meter change process and hold camps for rectification of excess billing.

Fielding another question raised by the RJD’s Laxmi Narayan Yadav related to acupressure experts practising as doctors, minister Vijay Choudhary announced that a health department official would probe the charge. He said the state only recognises homoeopathy and ayurveda as alternative medicine.

In response to a question raised by the BJP’s Vikram Kuer, the minister said around 1,200 to 1,300 patients were being served food in PMCH everyday. “There have been no complaints of food being denied to any patient,” he said.

In response to a call attention by the BJP’s Prem Ranjan Patel and other MLAs related to the imposition of toll tax without completion of the Mokama to Munger stretch of National Highway 80, road construction minister said a section of the road could not be completed because of legal wrangles in land acquisition. He said the state government had nothing to do with collection of toll tax and it was for the Union government to take a call in the matter.

The Assembly passed the Rs 700-crore budgetary demand of the land revenue department.

Opposition members blamed the department of not giving the promised three decimals of land to each landless for building house. Minister Narendra Narayan Yadav claimed that his department had given land to over 2.4 lakh Mahadalit families by procuring land at market rate.