PALAKKAD: Electricity Minister A.K. Balan has said an increase in power tariff is inevitable to bridge the huge gap between expenditure and income of the Kerala State Electricity Board.
At a press conference here on Sunday, the Minister said the Board would give details of the expenditure and the income to the Kerala Electricity Regulatory Commission for 2006-07.
He said that to avoid raising the tariff, the State government should give subsidy, which was not possible owing to the financial crunch the State was facing. The government was giving subsidy to farmers and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Even this was not paid to the Board, and the arrears on this account was Rs.3,000 crore, the Minister said.
On top of that, the Board had incurred an additional expenditure of Rs.700 crore for increasing the wages of its employees.
Asked why the Board should go for raising the tariff when dams of hydroelectric projects were overflowing and power was being produced at just 33 paise a unit, the Minister said there was no storage and generation capacity to use the favourable situation following the continuous heavy rain in the State for the past six months.
Replying to a question on the need for a comprehensive inquiry by a Central agency on the bursting of the penstock pipe at Panniar, killing eight persons, the Minister said that after getting the report of the ongoing inquiry, the government would decide about it.
The government had not got the report yet, he said.
The Minister said Palakkad would become the first fully electrified district in the State. In another two years, power connection would be provided to all houses.
The Minister said a memorandum of understanding would be signed by Kerala, Gujarat and Orissa in November to form a company to utilise a coal field allotted in Orissa for generating power. From this project, 1,000 MW of power would be produced for the State in another 10 years, he said.