Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has ruled out any subsidies for any category in the wake of the power tariff hike announced on Thursday, but has stated that the State would push for a rollback in the hike if there was a change in the circumstances that prompted the decision.
Talking to the media here, Mr. Chandy said the State had withheld immense pressure to hike the tariff for long, but current circumstances, particularly scanty rainfall and sharp plunges in water-levels of all major dams, had forced a hike. There was no space for subsidies in the current situation and a rollback too was ruled out at the present juncture. However, the State would be on the constant lookout for an improvement in the circumstances and at the earliest such change, would recommend a rollback in the tariff to the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.
Explaining the hike, Mr. Chandy said the State’s dams at present held only one-third of water necessary for hydro power production, which was why the State was forced to purchase costly electricity from outside. There were no tariff hikes for nearly a decade, and with the severe shortage of water too adding to the situation, there was no other way but to go in for a hike, he said.
“It is not with a willing mind that the government decided to go for the hike, but we were rather forced by circumstantial pressure. We will be on a constant watch for an opportunity to recommend a rollback to the SERC, but we cannot say when that will be possible given the present situation,” he said.
Reacting to queries on statements from various quarters questioning the manner in which the government had announced the tariff hike the very day after the Assembly session concluded, Mr. Chandy said each person was entitled to his or her own interpretation of the decision.
“Each decision has its own time, and that is what happened in this case too,” he said.