Chandigarh, September 6, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has strongly objected to the direct 20 percent tax being levied by the Punjab government on electricity bills, stating that not only the private power companies but also the government itself was indiscriminately looting power consumers.
In a statement issued from the party headquarters here on Monday, AAP senior leader and Leader of Opposition (LoP) Harpal Singh Cheema said the ruling Congress government had crossed all limits in collecting taxes from power consumers.
Cheema said while the government of UT Chandigarh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi are levying one to five percent tax on electricity bills; the total electricity tax levied by the Punjab government is 20 percent, of which 13 percent is electricity duty, 5 percent is infra tax and 2 percent is municipal tax. “Not only this, 2 paisa per unit cow cess (tax) is different. As a result, electricity tax collection has crossed 20 percent,” he added.
The AAP leader further said that according to the amount of tax being collected by the Punjab government from the power consumers, almost half (45 percent) of the electricity subsidy to the agriculture sector and the poor is being taken out of the pockets of the people; which is a betrayal with the farmers, Dalits and all other power consumers in the name of power subsidy.
Harpal Singh Cheema also demanded an account from the government for the collection in the name of cows and questioned that on the one hand taxes are being levied from the people for the care and maintenance of cows; then why are lakhs of cows roaming in cities and villages? As a result, people are losing their lives and property in road accidents every day, he added. He said that the treasury of Punjab and the pockets of the people would not breathe a sigh of relief till the costly and deadly agreements reached with the private power companies during the rule of the Badals were canceled.
Cheema said like the Badals, the Captain Amarinder Singh government was also running away from canceling the deadly agreements with the private power companies as they were getting hefty commissions from the private power companies.
He demanded that as long as the power agreements were not canceled, the Punjab government could provide some relief to the people by waiving the power tax. Cheema said with formation of the AAP government, not only the agreements with private power companies would be canceled; but the rates of power tax would also be reduced like in Delhi.