After Opposition parties, the Congress Government drew flak from within the party for the power tariff hike proposals with Union Minister of State for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi shooting off a letter to AICC general secretary State affairs-incharge Ghulam Nabi Azad seeking his intervention.
In his letter, he told Mr Azad that it was not appropriate on the part of the government to go ahead with the tariff hike without discussing it in the party forum and wanted him to convene a meeting of the party’s coordination committee at the earliest. The committee could then suggest an appropriate course of action.
Major setback: VHR
Another senior leader, V. Hanumantha Rao, told reporters in New Delhi that the tariff hike, if implemented, would turn out to be a major setback to the party facing general elections in a year. He too addressed a letter to the Chief Minister, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, asking him to drop the proposal.
On the other hand, the PCC president, Botcha Satyanarayana, appealed to the Chief Minister to spare below poverty line families, middle classes and farmers from the proposed hike, approved by the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission. “The government should take steps to see that the economic pattern of these sections is not disturbed on account of the power tariff hike,” he said, addressing a press conference here on Sunday. Mr. Satyanarayana said in the event of tariff hike becoming inevitable, the government should consider bearing the burden incurred by these sections through subsidy to the distribution companies. “These are the sections that reposed their faith in the Congress, voting it to power twice and it is the party’s responsibility to see that they are not inconvenienced,” he said.
The State was passing through a tough time in the power supply situation as shortfall in excess of 60 million units was persisting and the Opposition parties were trying to gain political mileage out of the unprecedented crisis, he said.
He denied claims that the ruling party, in its 2009 election manifesto, had promised that there would not be any hike in tariff for the next five years. An assurance that there would not be any changes in power tariff for five years was given as part of the industrial policy of 2005-10 and the Congress Government had fulfilled its promise.