“Increasing electricity charges every year can’t be justified”

Trade bodies and political parties have reacted sharply to the hike in power tariff that has come into force with retrospective effect from April 1.

While the Chamber of Commerce, Puducherry has said that it was yet another blow to the traders, who were already hit by Value Added Tax (VAT), the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has described it as a mindless act affecting commoners.

K.A. Shenbakarajan, president, Chamber of Commerce, said the electricity charges in Puducherry was once considered as cheapest in the country compared to other States and Union Territories but it has been hiked almost on par with other States. It would severely affect the traders and businessmen.

It was unfortunate that the power charges were raised when the Chamber of Commerce was fighting for the repeal of VAT, which had dented the overall business of Puducherry since 2012, he said.

The attitude of Puducherry Electricity Department (PED) over increasing electricity charges every year could not be justified when there were other avenues to increase the revenue and bring down the expenditure, Mr. Shenbakarajan said.

M.A.S. Subramanian, organiser, DMK, Puducherry, said that the power charges on domestic consumers had been increased by 56 per cent which was totally unacceptable.“Ever since the Puducherry administration introduced 10 per cent VAT on various commodities, food served in restaurants, hotels and services; the average business had plummeted to a great extent. Puducherry, which was once considered as a favourite destination for shopping by people of neighbouring Tamil Nadu, had already lost the status due to the imposition of VAT. The power tariff hike on commercial usage would add to the woes.

Mr. Subramanian said that it showed that the Rangasamy Government was not bothered about the welfare of the people.

The public should not be burdened for the wasteful and unmindful expenditure of electricity department, he said.

Taking strong exception to the 10 per cent surcharge on total amount on used electricity, he said it was a strange move. He had never heard about the collection of surcharge on electricity usage. The move was highly condemnable. It was unfortunate that though almost all forums and consumers strongly objected to the proposal on power hike at the recently held public hearing, the hike has been effected. Considering the extraordinary situation faced by the businessmen and traders, the government should roll back the power hike if it was considerate towards the people, he demanded.

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