Assam CM ends VIP culture of free electricity for government officials

This decision ends a 75-year-old practice where the state government covered the electricity expenses of high-ranking officials.

| Updated: 17 June, 2024 3:43 pm IST
Assam Initiates Erasing 'VIP' Culture, Ministers & Govt Officials To Now Pay Bills

GUWAHATI: To dismantle the longstanding VIP culture, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that all ministers, MLAs, and government employees residing in government quarters will start paying their electricity bills starting July 1.

This decision ends a 75-year-old practice where the state government covered the electricity expenses of high-ranking officials.

“We are ending the #VIPCulture rule of paying electricity bills of government officials using taxpayer money. I and the chief secretary will set an example and start paying our power bills from July 1 onwards,” Sarma wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. He emphasised that by July 2024, all public servants will be responsible for their electricity consumption.

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During the announcement, Sarma highlighted the historical context of this practice: “We usually find that the electricity bills of the residences of our ministers and senior government officers or the residences of the secretariat are paid by the government. This has been going on for 75 years; it is not a new system.”

 

The Chief Minister expressed his commitment to the change: “Even though I have been enjoying free electricity for three years; I was not aware. Got to know about it recently during a discussion. I hope this will help the electricity board.”

Sarma’s announcement coincided with the inauguration of a 2.5 MW solar power project at the Assam Secretariat, making it the country’s first green state government headquarters. He stated that the initiative aims to reduce the rate of electricity bills by ₹1 per unit by April next year, with a further reduction of 50 paise per unit planned for the following year. This measure is intended to benefit lower-income groups.

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Additionally, the Assam government is implementing an auto-disconnection policy for electricity at all government offices after 8 pm, excluding the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Home, and Finance Departments. “This measure is already in place at 8,000 government offices and schools across the state,” Sarma noted.

These steps are part of a broader effort to ensure fiscal responsibility and energy conservation within the state. By leading by example, Sarma and his administration aim to promote a culture of accountability and sustainability in Assam.

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