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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Protests gained momentum in Odisha a day after Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) approved a hike in the existing power tariff in the State.

Though there has been a rise of 30 paise per KWH/kVAh in power tariffs for the category of consumers other than BPL families and for irrigation, the decision to increase the charges has not gone well with several social organisations.

Several outfits on Sunday staged demonstration in Berhampur against the hike in electricity tariff while claiming it as a double whammy for consumers across the State who are already reeling under the impact of Covid crisis and grappling with several issues including low-voltage and unscheduled power cuts.

It is pertinent to mention here that the power tariff was hiked by 20 paise in October last year and it has again been increased by 30 paise this year. The revised rates will be effective from April 4, 2021.

Consumers alleged that the State government in May had assured that there would be no hike in electricity tariff. However, the rates were hiked suddenly in October after the distribution charge was handed over to Tata Powers.

The fresh power tariff hike is certainly likely to affect the consumers who are still struggling to put their lives back on track after facing lot of hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also Read: Electricity Tariff Hiked In Odisha; Revised Rates Applicable From April 4, Check Details

Not only consumers, several political parties have also opposed the power tariff hike. They have targeted Odisha government for ignoring the interest of the consumers.

“The consumers in Odisha now have to pay a price for inefficiency and mismanagement of power companies and the State government,” said Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President, Niranjan Patnaik.

Leader of Opposition, Pradipta Naik said, “We suspect that provision has been made for corruption or irregularities. The Discoms which were allowed for power transmission had not developed any infrastructure in the State. It is absolutely not justified to burden the consumers for power infrastructure development.”

Responding to the allegations of Opposition parties, BJD MLA Rajendra Dholakia said, “The revised power tariff has remained unchanged for BPL families and for irrigation. The tariff has been hiked to provide better facilities to consumers and improve the existing infrastructure. The hike of 30 paise per unit will not impact the consumers much.”

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

 

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