In protest against the proposed revision of tariff on irrigation pumpsets

Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangham has announced that it will boycott the public hearing of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission on tariff reversion scheduled to be held here on May 8. (The hearing is on May 10 in Madurai and on May 17 in Coimbatore)

Its State general secretary Rajachidambaram declared at the agriculturists’ grievances day here on Friday in the presence of Collector Jayashree Muralidharan that there was no point in attending the hearing as the commission had not bothered to pay heed to the representations of the farmers last year.

He said the commission wanted to raise the tariff from Rs. 250 per HP (horse power) on irrigation pumpsets to Rs. 1,750 per HP last year. “We opposed it and suggested that there could be a revision of 10 per cent.”

But, the commission went ahead with the proposed increase saying that farmers need not have any worry because it was the Tamil Nadu government that was bearing the brunt.

“This year, the commission has suggested that the tariff per HP be enhanced to Rs. 2,500. We are certain that it is not going to listen to our views and will raise the tariff unilaterally. Then why should we attend the hearing?” he asked.

Mr. Rajachidambaram told The Hindu that his major worry was that at some point or the other, farmers of Tamil Nadu would have to pay the tariff because the Union government had all along been complaining that the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) was not settling its dues properly.

And the State government had been explaining that it was because of the poor finances that Tangedco had been unable to settle its dues.

Farmers to face the music

“Hence, the current situation of the State government footing the entire power bill for agriculture cannot go on forever and free power scheme will be scrapped irrespective of the party in power sometime later. Then it would be farmers who would be forced to face the music. That is why we have been opposing the tariff increase all along,” he said.