Both Opposition Congress and BJP Thursday demanded immediate roll back of the decision of power tariff hike, a day after the Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) announced its approval to raise power tariff in the state from 1 October.
Both the parties criticized the decision of raising the power tariff by 20 paise per unit across categories except agriculture and BPL families, during the pandemic when the people are struggling for survival.
Senior Congress Lawmaker, Santosh Singh Saluja said the decision to hike the power tariff is “unfortunate,” and the party will raise the issue in the ensuing monsoon session of the Assembly which commences from 29, September
“Around 22 per cent of total power consumption in Odisha is obtained from hydropower and 10 per cent from solar energy. Taking all forms of power production and purchase into consideration, the unit cost will not exceed Rs 2.80. When the cost of power production is so less, why the OERC increased the tariff , senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo enquired.
Mr.Kanungo pointed out that the State Government has failed to collect the pending dues of about Rs 2,000 crore from the power distribution companies (DISCOMs) and about Rs 4,000 crore from the big companies.
Opposition BJP hit the street and staged a demonstration in front of the office of OERC here. The party activists led by Jagannath Pradhan and president of Bhubaneswar BJP Organizational District President Babu Singh participated in the protests.
“When the livelihood of the people of Odisha is at the stake due to COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has dealt another blow by increasing the power tariff,” they said.
The BJP leaders also alleged that the OERC in collusion with the state government increased the power tariff and demanded immediate rollback of the decision. The party also threatened to launch a state-wide agitation.
However, Minister Energy, Dibya Shankar Mishra said the power tariff has been increased by only 4 per cent after seven years. He justified that the power tariff is necessary keeping in view the cost of expenditure in the production, transmission and distribution.