Bhubaneswar: The issue of steep hike in power tariff rocked the State Assembly on Thursday with the Opposition demanding immediate withdrawal in rates of electricity tariff, by providing subsidy which would reduce the burden of the consumers.
As Energy Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak defended the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (OERC) decision to hike the power tariff attributing decline in hydro power generation and hikes in coal prices as the main reason behind the hike and refused to concede to the Opposition demand to provide subsidy, the Opposition Congress staged a walk out.
Participating in the debate on the admissibility of an adjournment motion on the hike in the power tariff, Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichadan said, “The hike in power tariff and VAT are the gift of the State Government to the people of the State after Panchayat elections”.
Adding more he said, the tariff was increased almost two times high for domestic consumers which is bound to hit the poor domestic consumer. While the hike was 89 per cent for domestic consumers, who consumed minimum power, it was increased 38 per cent for consumers at the highest slab level. He criticized the Government for allegedly showing favours to the private companies but hitting the consumers.
In developed State like Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand, the Government there had provided subsidy, so why it cannot be implemented in Odisha, Harichandan asked.
Harichandan also held State Government responsible for the power crisis at present.
“The power tarrif hike is not acceptable. The Government should again approach the regulatory commission for reconsideration of the tarrif”, said senior BJD leaders Pravat Tripathy and Anant Das.
Moreover, several other members also demanded the Government to lessen the hike in power tariff.