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Morcha’s hill power test – Hills connections

Posted by Ramesh Khati on July 10, 2009

A deserted street at Sukna, located around 10km from Siliguri, during a 12-hour strike called by the Morcha on Thursday.

A deserted street at Sukna, located around 10km from Siliguri, during a 12-hour strike called by the Morcha on Thursday.

Darjeeling, July 9: Lack of clarity within the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha on the implementation of its non-co-operation movement is causing inconvenience to the public at large.

Confusion prevails over payments for new electricity connection from the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited. As part of its non-co-operation movement, the Morcha had asked people in the hills to stop paying electricity bills from May 21.

The Telegraph correspondent today visited the power office in Darjeeling following complaints from the residents that the authorities were not providing new connections to the hill people.

Posing as a prospective consumer, efforts were made to apply for a new electricity connection. Officials present at the office, however, said they could not sanction fresh connection as they had been “asked” not to collect money for any service, even for applications from new consumers.

“About two weeks ago, a group of people claiming to be Morcha supporters came to the office and asked us not to collect any taxes. They specifically asked us not to take money for new connections as well. Given the situation, we have no alternative but to stop taking money,” said an official.

Asked whether the hill people were to live without electricity, Binay Tamang, the assistant secretary of the Morcha, said: “We have only asked the people to stop paying electricity bills. We had not said the electricity office should stop taking payment for new connection. Why should we hurt our own supporters; our intention is only to cripple the state government.”

Tamang’s clarification is likely to help about 200 people whose applications for new connection are pending at the Darjeeling office.

However, Tamang needs to co-ordinate with his fellow leaders to sort out the matter and he has promised to do so.

Source: The Telegraph

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