Berhampur, Sept 22 (LocalWire): Women self-help groups (SHGs) engaged in the collection of monthly electricity bills of Southco Utility see a significant jump in their earnings as members drop out due to the fear of coronavirus.
In the month of July, Sabita Patra, the president of an SHG group, earned over Rs. 23,000 alone – almost double of what she had earned in the months of June and May.
The increase in her earning was due to the commission earned from the collection of the electricity bills.
Sabita, 41, collected the bills in at least 8 villages in Rangeilunda block in July.
“When other members did not come for collection, I had visited the villages following the COVID-19 regulations like wearing a mask, washing hands and changing clothes before entering the house,” she said.
During the month, Sabita alone collected over Rs 1.67 crores from over 4,600 consumers in the villages.
Sabita’s earning from the commission was Rs 12,500 and Rs 10,600 in the month of June and May respectively. Her monthly earning was from Rs 7000 to 8000 per month before the outbreak of COVID-19.
The group has 17 members and has been entrusted with the collection of the electricity bills in the area since 2012. Individual earnings were lower before the pandemic because almost all the members participated in collection, Sabita said.
“We have engaged as many as 310 women SHGs in Ganjam district for the collection of monthly bills as part of the government’s women empowerment program, Mission Shakti.
They collect the bills from over 4.85 lakh domestic consumers,” said the General Manager (Commerce) of Southco, Lenka Prasad.