Mumbai: When on one hand Electricity consumers in Maharashtra were raising their voices with inflated electricity bill during lockdown but on other hand, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) which provides electricity to half of the Mumbai, didn’t send bills to 12 Maharashtra ministers’ official government bungalows. Mumbai-based RTI activist Anil Galgali had got this information under Right to Information Act.
RTI activist Anil Galgali had sought information about electricity bills sent to bungalows of state ministers in the months of March, April, May, June and July 2020. Galgali was informed by the concerned department that due to the lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, the electricity bills were not dispatched in offices.
Out of 17 bungalows, only five bungalows have received electricity bills for the month of July. The documents made available to Galgali contain information on 17 bungalows, including 15 ministers of the state, besides the Maharashtra Legislative Council Deputy Chairman Dr Neelam Gorhe and the Principal Advisor to the Chief Minister, Ajoy Mehta.
Out of these 15, the bungalows of five ministers have not received an electricity bill for the last five months. Their names are Dadaji Bhuse, KC Padvi, Amit Deshmukh, Hasan Mushrif and Sanjay Rathod. So far, in the last four months, 10 ministers bungalows have not received the electricity bills. These include the names of Dr Jitendra Awhad, Aditya Thackeray, Dhananjay Munde, Vijay Vadettivar, Uday Samant, Varsha Gaikwad, Gulabrao Patil, Sandeep Bhumre, Ad Anil Parab, Balasaheb Patil.
According to Galgali, there are a large number of complaints about electricity bills due to the lockdown across the state. On the other hand, it is surprising that no electricity bills were sent to the ministers’ bungalows. If the electricity bills are not dispatched on time, then the customers have to go online to pay the bills, but Mumbai’s BEST did not send the bills, which is very unprofessional, said Galgali.
When we asked Revenun minister Balasaheb Thorat about this issue he said, “Why the concerned company didn’t send the bill, this question should be asked to the company.”