Shutdown over power tariff hike hits Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Bidyut Upabhokta Mahasangh (Power Consumers’ Federation) held a 12-hour shutdown across the state, demanding rollback of power tariff hike announced by the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC).

It also demanded an audit by theComptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of accounts of power distribution companies in the state.

All opposition parties, labour unions, and civil societies supported the shutdown that affected life in some parts of the state as the protesters organised picketing, demonstrations and rallies in front of government offices, particularly power offices.

Bus services also remained off at some routes, affecting commuters.

“The hike in power tariff should be withdrawn immediately in the interest of common man and farmers in the state,” said Panchanan Kanungo, Bidyut Upabhokta Mahasangh president.

About 100 protesters were arrested during the picketing in Bhubaneswar, police said.

Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), have extended their support to the shutdown.

The Odisha government has announced it will file a review petition before the OERC seeking rollback of the proposed power tariff hike for the agriculture sector. The announcement was made by Energy Minister Pranab Prakash Das in the assembly on Monday.