It calls for equitable distribution of power across the State, at least eight hours of continuous power supply

The Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has decided to move the Madras High Court seeking relief from the spate of power cuts which have seen the southern districts experience load shedding of 12 to 16 hours every day.

The trade body intends to plead for equitable distribution of available power across the State and a direction to the power authorities to provide at least eight hours of continuous power supply every day, besides halting the night-time power cuts.

These decisions were made at a consultative meeting of various trade and industry bodies organised here on Tuesday by the Chamber. It was also resolved to stage a demonstration in front of the Madurai Regional Office of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) on October 22 to press these demands.

Addressing the meeting, Chamber senior president S. Rethinavelu said that the trade and industry in Tamil Nadu spent over Rs. 28,000 crore on diesel-powered generators in the past one year in view of the power shortage. While the State government, on one hand, was encouraging more industries to come up to boost the economy, its inability to tackle the power crisis was forcing the companies to close down. He urged Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to form a committee comprising representatives of trade and industry bodies in the State and elicit their views to tackle the crisis.

Mismanagement

Speaking earlier, Chamber president N. Jegatheesan said that the power shortage was expected to climb to 7,500 MW in a few years time from the present 4,000 MW. As such, no answer was forthcoming from the State government on how it intends to tackle the crisis. He also blamed the government of mismanaging the power sector as a request under Right To Information Act had revealed that many power plants were shut down for almost 40 per cent of the time in a year during 2011-12.

V. Neethi Mohan, past president of the chamber, called for utilising solar power, for which Tamil Nadu had the potential next only to Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Radical suggestions

Various radical suggestions ranging from wholesale refusal to pay the commercial taxes and electricity bills to paying even higher tariffs so that the TANGEDCO would have money to buy power were put forth by various associations at the meeting. Many traders voiced apprehension that these actions might damage the market buoyancy expected during the upcoming Deepavali season.

Many industrialists spoke out strongly against the preferential treatment to Chennai, which even now was facing only an hour of power cuts. They also sought tax credits for purchase of diesel for generators.

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