Mentions various steps taken by government to augment power supply

Electricity Minister Natham R. Viswanathan on Wednesday defended in the Assembly differential treatment shown to Chennai in load shedding vis-à-vis the rest of the State.

Responding to the suggestion of Puthiya Tamizhagam floor leader K. Krishnasamy for equitable distribution of supply throughout the State during the debate on the motion of thanks to Governor for his address, the Minister replied that the duration of load shedding in parts of the State other than Chennai had gradually come down from 12 hours to six hours. It would further go down future.

The decision to follow the present arrangement was based on the assessment that only a marginal relief would be available if equitable distribution of supply was to be enforced. The relief from load shedding would be 20 minutes to 30 minutes.

Earlier, the Minister gave an elaborate account of various steps taken by the government to augment power supply and expressed the hope that the supply situation would improve drastically soon. When Dr. Krishnasamy wanted the government to constitute a panel of Ministers to go into the issue of exclusive reservation for Arundathiyars within the quantum of reservation for Scheduled Castes, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader A. Soundararajan said the system of sub-quota should continue.

K. Balabharathy (Communist Party of India – Marxist) called for filling vacancies, numbering two lakh, in the government and said the age limit for various categories of communities should be relaxed.

To an observation of V.C. Chandirakumar (Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam) that there were fears that the bus fare would be hiked again, Transport Minister V. Senthil Balaji replied, referring to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s statements that the government would absorb the additional expenditure – Rs. 383 crore at the time of the hike in the petrol price by Rs. 6.07 per litre and Rs. 1,000 crore in the wake of the introduction of the dual pricing system.

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