Electricity Blues

That the state administration is disconnected with the people is manifest through its actions. For quite some time living in their ivory towers, it has no idea about the ground realities. In fact, it has been living up to the famous quote in history: let 'peasants eat cakes if they cannot afford bread.' For past four months commercial and industrial activities in most parts of the state have come to a standstill and the overwhelming majority is facing economic hardships. Instead of providing succour to the suffering multitudes of the state, and coming up with schemes for poor sections of the society, or deferring equated monthly instalments (EMI) of small time traders and transporter, waiving their interest for the period of unrest, the administration with every passing day has been tightening noose around their necks. On Saturday, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) gave nod to the Power Development Department to increase power tariff by ten percent for domestic and non-domestic consumers. The state government instead of giving boost to agriculture and industrial sectors have been discouraging this sector by increasing their electric tariff at regular intervals. Ironically, against ten percent increase in the tariff of the general consumers, there will be only nine percent hike for the State and the Central Government departments. Callosity of the state towards the problems of the people is quite obvious in that the tariff hike order will have a retrospective effect from October 2016 to March 2017. Surprisingly, the order is issued at a time when people have been complaining about highly inflated bills for past four months served to them without checking meters. Moreover, meter reading shown for the month of October is double than previous months. Intriguingly, the state government, instead of addressing its failures of checking pilferage of electricity and making the biggest consumers of the central government agencies to pay their bills has been burdening the law-abiding consumers by increasing their tariff. For checking illegal connections, preventing pilferage and stopping hooking the government should take adequate steps for bringing in accountability in the power development department. A big percentage of revenue is lost through the active connivance of the functionaries of the department. It is high time for the BJP-PDP coalition government to shed its thick skinned attitude, and get sensitive towards the problems confronting people; and not to put additional financial burden on them. The order for increasing electricity tariff should be withdrawn.

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