Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Opposition including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress slammed the Odisha government on Friday accusing it of shielding Tata Power and hiking the electricity tariffs.

The electricity heat came up at the Odisha Assembly on Friday during a discussion on an adjournment motion. The BJP alleged that despite being an electricity-surplus state, the tariff in Odisha is on an increasing trend. The saffron party also alleged that the distribution company, Tata Power is levying more tariffs on the public to cover operational losses.

Speaking to reporters, Opposition party Chief Whip, Mohan Majhi said, “Tata Power is hands in gloves with the government. It is not only sparing industries from paying electricity bills, the distribution company is levying undue tariffs on the retail consumers to compensate for that loss.”

“Odisha is still grappling with power outages and load shedding which indicates a complete failure on part of Odisha government and the Energy Department,” Majhi said.

Congress too turned up the heat on the State government over the tariff. “Some tribals in the interior areas with BPL cards have received bills amounting to thousands of Rupees from Tata Power. Where would they get money to pay it? It is utterly unfortunate that the State government has been shielding Tata Power. The common man will never excuse them. Odisha should give more free units at par with Delhi and Punjab government,” said Jeypore MLA, Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

However, the ruling BJD refuted all the allegations by the Opposition.

Energy Minister Pratap Deb said, “Rs 7886 cr of electricity bill is yet to be paid by the people. If the money is not paid up, it will again be levied on the common man in terms of taxes."

“The government has a leash on Tata Power and at the same time, a One Time Settlement (OTS) Scheme has been launched for the users to pay up a particular sum of money to settle all their dues once and for all. If we provide everything for free, it won’t be late before we become another Sri Lanka,” the Minister said.

(Reported By Harihar Chand, OTV)