Opposition demand subsidy on electricity

Bhubaneswar: The Opposition today suggested to the government in the assembly to roll back hikes in rates of electricity tariff by providing subsidy which would reduce the burden of the consumers while the Energy Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak clarified that decline in hydro power generation and hikes in coal prices were compelling factors responsible for the hikes in tarrif rates which was still lesser in comparison to several states in the country.

Participating in an adjournment motion on hikes in electricity tarrif rates the Opposition members accused that the government has made it a policy to raise tarrifs for the last three years and this time it was increased right after the Panchayat elections. The Chief Whip of of the Opposition Prasad Harichandan criticised the government saying that it suggested the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission(OERC) inflated figures for hikes so that the tarrif rates remained on the higher sides. He criticised the government for allegedly showing favours to the private companies but hitting the consumers hard under the belt. There was hardly any problem on the part of of the government to provide subsidy on power like several other states since the government had earned revenue to the tune of Rs 12,000 crore in the last twelve years, he argued.

Members expressed concern over regular power cuts and low voltage problems in the state. BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra said that the energy department resorted to unscheduled power cuts in the name of decline in power production.

On the other hand the Energy Miinister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak argued that the consumers would be severely affected in case the state government purchased power from outside the state at higher rates. The minister explained that decline in hydro power generation in the state which stood at just 17 per cent of the optimum level coupled with hikes in coal prices and supply of inferior quality of coal have aggravated the power crisis in the state. He however emphasized that the situation in the state was still better in comparison to several other states and there was no hike in tarrif rates for agriculture and irrigation sectors.