POWER TARIFF HIKE: Civil society, traders demand rollback

Lashing out at JK Government for “arbitrary” power tariff increase, the Valley-based civil society groups and business associations today demanded immediate rollback of the hike citing ongoing unrest which has shattered Kashmir’s economy.
POWER TARIFF HIKE: Civil society, traders demand rollback

Lashing out at JK Government for "arbitrary" power tariff increase, the Valley-based civil society groups and business associations today demanded immediate rollback of the hike citing ongoing unrest which has shattered Kashmir's economy. 

The hike has been condemned by the general consumers, and traders' and civil society groups saying "it highlights the insensitivity of the state government towards the miseries of common masses." 

Member, Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS)- a civil society group-  Shakeel Qalandar demanded withdrawal of the hike by the government. 

"The hike is uncalled for and shows the callous attitude of government towards the people who are suffering miseries due to prevailing situation," he said.

To mention, SERC has approved 10 percent hike for the domestic, non-domestic categories of the consumers, while as tariff for agriculture has been hiked by 10 percent.  

Similarly, for LT industrial supply hike of average 10 percent and for HT industrial supply average 9 percent hike has been approved.

The SERC issued order after PDD petitioned the SERC seeking hike in power tariffs to meet the revenue gap. 

President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said: "PDD has failed to curb T&D losses which are highest in the state. Hiking power tariffs is not a solution," he said adding that the government should take into the consideration the prevailing economic scenario as the Kashmir is passing through worst ever business slump due to ongoing unrest. 

"When the people are finding it difficult to feed their families, how will they manage paying hefty electricity bills?" he questioned. 

Chairman, Kashmir Economic Forum, Showkat Chowdhary said government was inflicting financial miseries upon people of Kashmir. 

"Our businesses, hotels, and shops are closed for over 4 months. In this situation how would the consumers be able to bear the brunt of tariff hike?" he asked. 

Echoing similar concerns, President Kashmir Traders' and Manufacturers' Federation, Bashir Ahmad Rather criticized the SERC's order terming it as "anti people". 

"It is height of insensitivity," he said, adding that "the government should take into consideration the ground situation. Kashmir is bleeding, purchasing power of people has diminished and our earnings have come down." 

President, Chamber of Commerce and Industries Kashmir, CCIK, Zahoor Trumboo said, "Government is giving punishment after punishment to common people and the tariff hike is another punishment to people of Kashmir for standing up to protect their rights."

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