Power tariff hike draws flak
Civil Society, Industry, Traders, Hoteliers Up In Arms
Srinagar, Apr 20: Jammu and Kashmir State Electricity Commission (JKSERC) approval the power tariff hike proposed by the Power Development Department (PDD) has drawn flak from different quarters.
This will be the second power tariff hike during the past six months. The state government had affected average 17 percent hike in power tariff last October and with the latest increase the cumulative increase in the tariff during the past six months has gone up to 33 percent.
Shakeel Qalandar, a member of the Kashmir Civil Society Group (KCSG), termed the power tariff hike as an anti-people move. “It is very unfortunate that PDD has increased the power tariff again in less than six months,” he lamented.
Qalandar said: “KCSG is meeting soon and will, in next few days, come up with details about the latest hike.”
Chairman, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), Muhammad Yaseen Khan expressed his unhappiness over the power tariff hike.
“It is very sad that the government is taxing people more and more. Few months ago government increased power tariff, now it has once again affected another hike. How can poor people afford to pay inflated bills,” Yaseen said adding that government is not able to reduce T&D losses and as a result it is trying to generate revenue by extracting money from the poor people.
Yaseen who is also the president of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) said; “We are holding deliberations with stakeholders and will soon come up with a strategy how to respond to the issue.” President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kashmir (CCIK), Muhammad Afzal Parray said: “It is an unjustified move by PDD and it will have bad impact on our business as well tourism.”
Parray said Central government is drawing power worth crores of rupees from the state, but unfortunately state government has failed to stop that. “We are always facing the brunt, despite having all huge water resources sufficient enough to produce thousands of megawatts of power, we are the only state that has hiked power tariff two times within six months.” He said adding that CCIK is holding a meeting with its members tomorrow to chalk out the future strategy.
President, Travel Agents Association Kashmir (TAAK), Rauf Tramboo said: “The hike is unwarranted. It will dent our business. We have already sold our travel packages, but when there will be hike in power fee, hoteliers will be forced to charge more and it will create problems for the sector.”
Rauf said Kashmir is already most over-budgeted tourism destination, due to one reason or other and increase in power tariff will further affect our business.
Convener, Hoteliers Club, Tariq Rashid also expressed concern over the increase in power tariff and said government needs to do serious rethinking on the decision.
Pertinently, SERC has approved a hike of 16 percent for non-metered and 8 percent for the metered consumers with effect from this month.
Similar has been the hike for the commercial consumers, mostly shops and related business establishments. The tariff for the non-metered commercial consumers including shopkeepers of Shaher-e-Khaas has been hiked by 18 percent whereas the tariff for the metered clientele in the sector has been hiked by 7 percent.
The hike in the agriculture sector has been no less. There’s a 5 percent increase for the metered category and 10 percent for the flat rate consumers.
Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) expressed shock over government decision to hike power tariff.
President KHAROF, Faiz Bakshi said: “Hotel industry pays Rs 5.78 per unit after excise duty and thus any further hike on this sector is unwarranted and unfair. It is surprising that while government says that it supplies power at Rs 2.70 per unit, but it never mentions that the hotel industry is being charged Rs 5.78 per unit.”
“Hike in power tariff will adversely affect business of guest houses, restaurants and hotels. We believe increasing power tariff will hit our business,” he said.
He said the power tariff hike should be immediately rolled back and hotels, guest houses and restaurants should be charged the same tariff as is applicable to small scale industries.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 20 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 21 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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