Worried industrialists fail to get audience with CM
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For more than a month after the Uttar Pradesh State Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPSERC) ordered a steep hike in power tariff for industrial consumers, the representatives of small and medium industries under the banner of Indian Industries Association (IIA) have been trying to meet Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, but in vain.
The IIA members say that the tariff hike on October 19, which came after three years but ranged from 35 to 60 per cent for different industries, has suddenly jacked up their production cost, making several industrial units financially unsustainable. Also, it has made industrial power in UP costliest in the region.
GC Chaturvedi, former president of IIA and president of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) formed to protest the power tariff hike, said the government should ask the UPSERC to review the hike.
The IIA is demanding that the demand charges, which have been increased from Rs 115 to Rs 225 per kilowatt should be reversed, and the provision of minimum charges should be abolished as no other state in India charges the industry minimum charges along with demand charges.
Besides, the electricity duty, which has been increased from 9 paise per unit to 7.5 per cent of the total bill, should be reversed as it has caused a "steep" hike of more than 500 per cent in their power bills.
DS Verma, Executive Director of IIA, said the increase in the demand charges will affect several industrial units, which cannot use the total electricity they have applied for, but they will have to pay the increased demand charges.
Verma said the provision of minimum charges leads to inefficiency on part of the power suppliers as they get a fixed amount of money even if they do not supply sufficient electricity to the industries.
Several IIA delegations have met Minister of State for Small Scale Industries Bhagwat Sharan Gangwar, Minister of State for Protocol Abhishek Misra. The association has also written letters to the chief minister office, but are still waiting for an appointment.
Chaturvedi said they want to meet the CM as he is the Minister for Power and Industry and, therefore, the right person with whom they can discuss their problems. He said Gangwar expressed his inability to sort out their problems and said he would forward their request to the CM.
According to IIA, following the recent hike in the tariff, power for UP's small and medium industries (LMV-6) has become 43.60 per cent costlier as compared to Uttarakhand, 43.40 per cent costlier than Chhattisgarh, 29.67 per cent costlier than Gujarat, 28.10 per cent costlier than Andhra Pradesh, 26.65 per cent costlier than Jharkhand, 23.4 per cent costlier than Rajasthan, 17.8 per cent costlier than Haryana, 15.5 per cent costlier than Bihar and 7.75 per cent costlier than Punjab.
Chaturvedi said opposition leaders, including Rajnath Singh and Kalraj Mishra of the BJP, have written to the CM, requesting him to meet the association members, but there has been no response.
"We were very enthusiastic when Akhilesh took over. We wanted to discuss several things for industries with him, including an annual event for micro, small and medium enterprises in the state, but there was no response to our letters," said Verma.
Chaturvedi said it is not only the power hike they want to discuss with the CM, but they also want to tell him to improve the functioning of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited(UPPCL), which has pending bills of more than Rs 27,000 crore, is providing electricity without meters and its expenses are not audited.
Verma said there are 31 lakh micro, medium and small industries in UP, which financially supports more than 91 lakh families. He said recently they approached Minister of State for Urban Development Chitranjan Swarup who has given an assurance for arranging a meeting with the CM.
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