To protest control measures imposed by Tangedco

Hundreds of industries were kept closed on Wednesday in protest against the control measures being imposed on electricity consumers by Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO).

Nearly 80 to 85 per cent of industries did not function in deference to the call made for a one-day closure by Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries’ Association (TANSTIA) to highlight the piquant situation caused by unannounced power cuts, industry sources said.

Rajappa Rajkumar vice president, TANSTIA, led a delegation of industrialists and presented a memorandum to District Collector Jayashree Muralidharan expressing the readiness of industrialists owing production units in industrial estates to plan their work pattern in shifts, provided the Tangedco provided assurance for a minimum of five hours of uninterrupted power supply a day. The delegation included B.Pattabiraman, Board Member of the newly-formed Tamil Nadu Power Consumers’ Association; office-bearers of BHEL Small Industries’ Association (BHELSIA) Mahesh (secretary) and Senthil (treasurer), and representatives of BIDASS Industrial Services Association.

The Collector reportedly assured the delegation that a meeting of TNEB officials will be convened shortly to consider their proposals. Industrialists in Thuvakudi, Mathur and Pudukudi areas were prepared to plan five-day work schedules if the power supply was regulated accordingly. Industries, at present, were suffering heavily on account of idle labour.

At present the industries could utilise only 25 to 30 per cent of their capacities due to the power shortage, and the workers were employed only for three to four days a week. Absence of continuous power supply for a stretch of five to six hours in daytime has severely hampered productivity and resulted in closure of many tiny and small industries, Mr.Rajappa Rajkumar said.

As a consequence, the industries were facing difficulties in repaying their loans. The TIDITSSIA has already requested banks to reschedule repayment of principal component of loans. The State government provided industries a breather by reducing interest on term-loans and loans forwarded for purchase of generators by three per cent (from 14.5 per cent to 11.5 per cent). For industries with a good track record of repayment, being given additional loans to the extent of 20 per cent must be routed through the District Industries Centres to manage the lean phase, he said.

Appreciating efforts by Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa for stepping up production of electricity within Tamil Nadu and for securing additional power from other States, the memorandum termed the solar energy policy announced last month as far-sighted and path-breaking.

However, since the shortage cannot be set right for a year, the authorities must at least regulate power supply systematically, so that manufacturing, trading, and service activities could be planned accordingly.

The industrialists appealed to the district administration to convey to the Chief Minister their request for power supply on a par with Chennai, and ensure continuous power supply for a minimum duration of six hours in day time.